India plays draw against Pak, miss out on final against OZ

Burnbury: India came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw against Pakistan but missed the bus for the final of the tri-nation hockey tournament, on Tuesday.

Pakistan set up the title clash against Australia on the virtue of a better goal difference.

India, which needed an outright win to qualify for the final, will play for bronze medal against Australia A.

Pakistan had a goal difference of minus six compared to Indian`s minus eight to make it to the final.

After conceding an early goal to Pakistan, India`s young sensation Yuvraj Walmiki scored the equaliser in the 26th minute.

India created enough moves to move the scoreboard further but its forwards were found wanting in the circle.

Pakistan went ahead straight away in the second minute of the game after Indian defence conceded an easy penalty corner.

Veteran Sohail Abbas showed his class, sending his hard push to the right of Indian goalkeeper-captain Bharat Chhetri.

India got fair chances of equalising but Sandeep Singh could not convert that. He took India`s first two penalty corners in the seventh and eighth minute only to see Imran Shah rising to the occasions.

The rival goalie Imran first palmed away the high flick of Sandeep, and covered the angle at which Vikram aimed his rebound shot.

India got four more penalty corners but Sandeep Singh was not in his elements. On the other hand, Pakistan too flopped at this vital area of the game. Indian captain Bharat Chhetri and Sardar Singh thwarted every penalty corner attempt of Sohail Abbas.

For Pakistan the defence manned by Imran Mohammad and Irfan Mohammad saw many surges of Indian forwards in the last five minutes to see their citadel not pierced.

Indian chief coach Michael Nobbs was aghast at Indian forwards for failing to score.

"This match was a let down by our forwards. I have to seriously think on our forwards. This type of wasting is not expected from them. If we make moves and the players won`t send them to the net, it’s all waster of effort. I have to take drastic steps to streamline our forwardline," he said.

The match went off without any hassles, not even a green card was flashed.

Pakistan Manager Olympian Kwaja Junaid accepted their team could not put up expected show, but was satisfied at the target being achieved.

"We wanted a draw, and we have achieved. I compliment both sides for the good show. It is what is expected of them.
I also agree our penalty corners did not work, though we took the lead using the first one. Sometimes it happens," he said.

Bowing to the persistent demand of India, the organizers on Tuesday posted two neutral umpires, Girme Murrya of Australia and Chan Cheng of China.


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