India finish disappointing 10th in junior hockey World Cup
New Delhi: Hosts India drew curtains to their disastrous campaign at the Hero Junior Men`s Hockey World Cup by finishing a disappointing 10th after losing to arch-rivals Pakistan in a classification match at the floodlit Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, here today.
Pakistan finished ninth after beating India 4-2 in the one-on-one penalty shoot-out after both the teams were locked at 1-1 at the regulation time.
Pakistan stunned the large home spectators in the seventh minute with a field goal from Rizwan Ali before Gurjinder Singh drew parity for India just four minutes from the hooter by converting the home team`s second penalty corner.
But it was not to be India`s day as they scored just twice in the shoot-out as against Pakistan`s four conversions.
Gurjinder and Talwinder Singh were on target from the first two one-on-one opportunities in the shoot, while Imran Khan and Satbir Singh missed.
Muhammad Imran, Muhammad Tousiq, Muhammad Umar Bhutta and Muhammad Dilber scored for Pakistan, while Muhammad Rizwan Jr was the only miss.
Though India dominated the lion`s share of possession in the first half, the hosts were far from impressive.
It is ought to be India`s worst performance in the tournament as their trapping was horrendous and mostly played in their own circle.
Pakistan, on the other hand, looked more co-ordinated and threatening in their forays. The Pakistanis used both the flanks to perfection to build their attacks.
Man-to-man marking was the hallmark of Pakistan`s defence as they did not give any space to the Indians inside their circle.
As has been the story so far in the tournament, the Indians were once again guilty of conceding a goal in the first 10 minutes of the match.
Pakistan capitalised on India`s defensive error when Muhammad Rizwan Jr found out an unmarked Muhammad Dilber inside the Indian circle who set it up for Rizwan Ali to push the ball home from close range.
Two minutes later, Pakistan got another scoring chance when they earned their first penalty corner but wasted it.
Missed chances were the order of the day for India as their forwards fizzled out once inside the opposition circle.
Malak Singh missed a clear chance from a close range before skipper Manpreet Singh shot wide after fine one-two with Mandeep Singh from the right flank.
After the change of ends, the Indians dished out a much-better performance and kept up the pressure on the Pakistani goal with relentless raids, but what eluded them was goals.
Credit should also go to Mazhar Abbas in Pakistan goal as he saved his side on two clear occasions.
Ten minutes into the second half, India got their first penalty corner but Gurjinder`s high flick was palmed away by an alert Abbas.
Minutes later, Abbas once again came to Pakistan`s rescue as he kept away Akashdeep Singh`s fierce shot from top of the circle.
Indian strikers Mandeep Singh and Malak Singh looked completely off colour today as they wasted quite a few clear chances inside the opposition circle.
India finally managed to level the scores in the 66th minute when Gurjinder converted a penalty corner with a low drag-flick to send the match into the shoot-out.
India had finished ninth in the previous edition of the junior World Cup.
Meanwhile, Argentina finished 11th, followed by South Africa (12th), Spain (13th), England (14th), Egypt (15th) and Canada (16th).
While Argentina beat South Africa 4-1 in the 11th-12th place play-off match, Spain eked out a hard-fought 3-2 win over England in the 13th-14th place classification game.
Earlier in the day, Egypt defeated Canada 3-0 to avoid the wooden spoon.
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