Thursday, September 25, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Pak humble sloppy India

India's Dhanraj Pilay fights for the ball with Pakistan's Shakeel Abassi
India's Dhanraj Pilay (L) fights for the ball with Pakistan's Shakeel Abassi at the sixth Asian Cup hockey tournament in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. —  AP/PTI photo

Kuala Lumpur, September 24
India paid the price for some sloppy display as they suffered a humiliating 2-4 loss against bitter rivals Pakistan in a pool B match of the Asia Cup hockey tournament here today.

India sorely missed the services of an injured Jugraj Singh as they frittered away several chances including as many as four penalty corners to finish second behind Pakistan in the pool.

The loss also means India will have to play the Asian Games winner South Korea, who are the pool A leaders, in the semifinals on Friday. Pakistan will play Japan for a place in the final.

India recovered from a two-goal deficit to tie the score 2-2 at the half time but conceded a couple more in second half to lose the match, billed as the revenge game for India after their loss against Pakistan in the bronze medal play-off in the Champions Trophy last month.

Kashif Jawad, who opened the account for Pakistan, scored the first two goals (11th, 22nd) while Waseem Ahmed (59th) and Sohail Abbas (69) converted the two penalty corners Pakistan got during the match.

For India Deepak Thakur (24th) and Sandeep Michael (34th) scored the goals.

India, who are seeking to win the first Asia Cup title, were to be blamed for a below-par performance today as they played without much coordination.

India lacked the venom that was required to tame a teamlike Pakistan, who in contrast played purposefully making inroads into the Indian circle a number of times.

India also failed to fully utilise the chances that came their way with Thakur alone being guilty of squandering a couple of scoring opportunities in the first 10 minutes of play.

The forward from Himachal Pradesh got good passes inside the striking area from captain Dhanraj Pillay on both the occasions but failed to dodge past goalkeeper Ahmed Alam.

Prabhjot Singh also missed a sitter late in the second half when he failed to push the ball in, taking advantage of a goalmouth melee.

The most disappointing aspect of the game from India’s point of view was that though they managed to earn more short corners than their opponents, they failed to score from even one of them. They even failed to stop the push properly on a couple of occasions, let alone taking an aim at the opposition post.

Jawad exposed the chinks in the Indian defence when he was left unmarked inside the box to sound the board in the 11th minute. His powerful shot from the right after getting a pass fro m Mohammed Saqlain comprehensively beat Devesh Chauhan, who app eared a trifle off colour today.

Chauhan, who had a memorable outing in the Champions Trophy, was not upto the mark as he failed to clear the ball 11 minutes later handing Pakistan their second goal.

If the Indians were to be blamed for conceding two goals in the first half due to some ordinary defence work, they were also benefitted from some poor clearance near the Pakistani goalmouth which helped them equalise just before the break.

Trailing 0-2, India upped the tempo in a bid to neutralise the lead and they could finally manage to do so when Deepak Thakur slammed home in second attempt after getting a pass from Gagan Ajit Singh.

Thakur also set the stage for the second goal when his grounded pass from just outside the 25-yard was deflected in beautifully by Sandeep Michael seconds before the half-time.

India were also unlucky not to be awarded a goal in the first half, when a Dilip Tirkey shot off a penalty corner deflected in from the pads of Pakistani custodian Alam.

Yi on song

In other matches Malaysia rallied to notch up a 2-1 consolation win against Hong Kong to salvage some pride. With this win, Malaysia tallied four points after the league stage in pool A. The hosts would now play China the 5-6 places on Friday.

China heaped misery on Bangladesh with an 8-0 thrashing.

Song Yi was literally on song scoring seven goals (4th, 13th, 19th, 36th, 42, 56, 69) while Yo Haiao scored the other goal in the 17th minute. — PTI

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