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 September 1, 2002 | 1800 IST | Updated: 2130

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India go down fighting to Germany

Kuldeep Singh

Germany 3 - India 2
Pakistan 4 - South Korea 1
Holland 6 - Australia 1

Twice in arrears India staged a strong fightback to restore parity, but couldn't prevent World champions Germany from snatching a 3-2 victory on the second day of the men's Champions Trophy hockey tournament in Cologne, Germany, on Sunday.

Like in their opening match against Pakistan on Saturday, Germany, the defending champions, scored two minutes from the end through captain Florian Kunz to take full points and register their second straight victory in the competition.

For India, it was their first defeat following a draw against Olympic champions The Netherlands on Saturday. And it was a soft penalty-corner they conceded three minutes from the end that cost them the match. Bimal Lakra needlessly obstructed a Germany forward and off the resultant penalty-corner, Kunz, who had made a mess of a penalty-stroke which could have put the hosts 2-0 up in the first half, made the perfect drag flick past goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan to clinch the issue.

Though beaten, Rajinder Singh's wards came off with their heads held high. They matched the Germans for a major part of the match, particularly the second half, but lapses in the defence saw them concede penalty-corners, which proved costly. For the second successive day, they conceded a late goal. On Saturday, they could have picked full points against Holland after being 3-2 up till the last minute. Today, they could have at least got one had they not conceded a penalty-corner two minutes from the end.

Germany opened the scoring in the 21st minute. From their fourth penalty-corner Timo Wess received a shallow pass from Bjorn Michel and flicked. The ball hit the crosspiece and kissed the net. 1-0.

The Indians, who had wasted a few good chances to score earlier -- Prabhjot, Dhanraj Pillay and Deepak Thakur being the offenders -- pressed hard for the equaliser but just could not penetrate the Germany defence, which often made good use of the aerial ball to relieve the pressure. They could have been two goals down had Kunz converted from the 'spot'. The penalty was awarded after S S Gill cleared the ball dangerously, preventing Oliver Domke from taking a shot, after goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan needlessly blocked a long hit from outside the circle. Kunz surprisingly pushed wide to the left of Chauhan.

A goal down, the Indians were better organised in the second session after they restored parity in the 37th minute. A swift counter attack between Bimal Lakra, Deepak Thakur and Dhanraj Pillay saw the last-named find Gagan Ajit Singh unmarked. The junior World Cup-winning captain wasted no time in pushing past goalkeeper Arnold Clemens.

Thereafter, it was the Indians who called the shots. Prabhjot and Pillay broke through twice and stretched the German defence, manned by Kunz and Philip Crone, but saw their passes go abegging with Gagan Ajit a wee bit late to reach them.

But Germany regained the lead in the 57th minute. Following their sixth penalty-corner, Kunz sold a dummy as he attempted to take the flick and tapped to Bjorn Michel, whose flick hit the upright and ricocheted to Christian Wein, who had the easiest of tasks of taping high into the net.

India launched a feverish search for the equaliser and their efforts paid-off with Jugraj Singh forcing a penalty-corner after his free-hit was stopped by a German defender with his foot. Off the corner, India's fourth and first in the second half, Jugraj flicked home in style.

However, shortly after that the young defender had to be taken off the field in pain after falling heavily on his shoulder.

With two minutes to go, India looked set to settle for a point but Kunz atoned for his penalty-stroke miss and settled the issue with a neat flick from Germany's seventh penalty-corner.

Pakistan rout South Korea

In the second match of the day, three-time champions Pakistan proved too good for South Korea, winning 4-1.

The Koreans, who shocked Australia on Saturday, were totally outplayed by the Pakistan gameplan of quick release of the ball and couldn't recover after conceding two goals within four minutes half-way through the first half.

Pakistan, who were unlucky to lose to Germany 2-3 in their opening match after leading 2-1 till the 65th minute, put the setback behind them and struck up a good rhythm to emerge deserving winners and stay in the race.

The result meant that Germany occupy the top position in the six-team league.

Mudassar Khan put Pakistan ahead in the 17th minute from a field goal before Mohammad Nadeem added another in the 21st minute.

In the second session, penalty-corner ace Sohail Abbas converted his first penalty-corner of the tournament to make it 3-0 in the 45th minute while captain Mohammad Sarwar made it 4-0 from a penalty-stroke six minutes later.

Seok Kyo Shin reduced the margin for the Koreans four minutes from the end scoring from a penalty-corner.

Holland hit Australia for a six

The third match of the day was a goal feast for The Netherlands, who whipped Australia 5-0.

It was the first victory for the Dutch, who had held India 3-3 with a last minute goal yesterday, while the Aussies suffered their second successive defeat following their loss to South Korea.

The Aussies made the early play, forcing a series of penalty-corners but were unable to beat goalkeeper Guus Vogels, who brought off a couple of smart saves. However, they were on the receiving end once the Dutch settled down.

Penalty-corner ace Bram Lomans put Holland ahead in the 18th minute with an accurate drag flick and Matthijs Brouwer made it 2-0 in the 23rd minute from a field goal.

Leading 2-0 at the breather, Holland kept up the pressure in the second session after Ronald Brouwer increased the tally in the 37th minuite with a field goal (3-0). Taeke Taekema scored from a penalty-corner in the 42nd minute (4-0) and Ronald Brouwer got his second goal a minute later (5-0).

The Aussies pulled one back in the 52nd minute through Andrew Smith (1-5), who converted a penalty-corner, but Ronald Brouwer scored again in the 58th minute (6-1) to register the first hat-trick of the tournament.

The victory took the Dutch to the second spot on the league table, behind Germany.

Day 1 report
Holland hold India with late goal

Champions Trophy 2002: The Complete Coverage