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 September 3, 2002 | 2030 IST

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India seize chances
to shock Australia

Kuldeep Singh

India 3 - Australia 2
Holland 3 - Pakistan 1

Over the years Indian hockey teams have been known for making all the play and failing to score. But on Tuesday, in the men's Champions Trophy in Cologne, Germany, the team rewrote the script against Australia. This time, it was the Aussies who made all the play, with the Indians capitalising on the chances that came their way to emerge 3-2 winners and register their first victory in the elite six-team competition.

The victory kept India in with a chance of making Sunday's final. They have four points following a draw against Holland, a defeat against Germany and today's victory.

For the Aussies, it was their third straight defeat from as many matches, having also lost to South Korea and Holland.

India, who were unlucky not to win their first two matches, were under tremendous pressure from the start as the Australians forced two quick penalty-corner within the first ten minutes but without success. Till then, the Indians failed to penetrate into the Aussie circle. But a quick counter offensive resulted in a penalty-stroke for India in the 11th minute. Young Jugraj Singh took the stroke and made no mistake to put India 1-0 ahead.

The Aussies continued to assert themselves but again a counter offensive saw India's speedy forward Prabhjot Singh score in the 17th minute to make it 2-0.

Two minutes later, Scott Webster pulled one back for the Aussies from a field goal.

For the remainder of the first half, the Indians frustrated the Aussies with good use of the long ball and strong defending.

In the second session, Australia swarmed the Indian goal and forced a series of penalty-corners but a stouthearted display by captain Dilip Tirkey in defence and goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan denied them success.

And again, much against the run of play in the 48th minute, India went 3-1 up off their first penalty-corner. A fierce shot by Dilip Tirkey was delected into roof of the net by Gagan Ajit Singh.

Not to be humiliated, the Aussies went all out and stormed the Indian goal. They were rewarded in the 63rd minute when Dean Butler beat keeper Chauhan with a good deflection. But Chauhan proved a hard nut to crack thereafter, as the Aussies forced three penalty-corners -- they got 15 in all -- in the dying minutes, to see India post a memorable victory.

Indian team manager Aslam Sher Khan was pleased that India managed to take the lead and hold on to it for the first time in the tournament.

"It was good that we did not concede any late goal. That was one reason why we were under so much much pressure in the second half," he said.

Expressing concern over the number of penalty-corners conceded, Khan said the team needs to work more on defence and ot concede soft goals.

"We definitely have to look at the defence and why we are conceding. But it is good that we withstood the pressure and that was important."

Holland too good for Pakistan

In the other match of the day, The Natherlands routed Pakistan 3-1 to post their second win from three matches.

For Pakistan it was their second defeat from three matches.

The victory took the Olympic champions to the top of the table with seven points. They are followed by Germany (6) and India (4). However, Germany have played only two matches.

After an evenly matched first ten minutes, two goals from penalty-corner by TaekeTaekema, in the 33rd and 34th minutes, saw the Dutchmen cross over at half-time with a comfortable 2-0 lead at half-time.

Pakistan too had their chances but they just couldn't get the ball past Dutch goalkeeper Guus Vogels.

Pakistan could have scored immediately on resumption in the second period but Vogels took the ball on his helmet to foil Sohail Abbas.

Teun De Nooijer made it 3-0 in the 51st minute with a deflection.

Pakistan stepped up the pace after the Dutch were reduced to ten men, when Piet Hein Geeris received a yellow card. They pressed hard and Saqlain Muhammad forced a penalty stroke after being felled in the circle. However, Mohammad Sarwar made a mess of it sending it to the right of Vogels, who had little difficulty in saving.

Pakistan then got two penalty-corners in the last two minutes and Mohammed Nadeem managed to reduce the margin in the last minute.

Day 1: Holland hold India with late goal
Day 2: India go down fighting to Germany

Champions Trophy 2002: The Complete Coverage