Mumbai: After yesterday's 1-3 loss to Pakistan, India's hockey coach Harendra Singh now hopes for a possible third place finish if his team beats New Zealand on Thursday.
India hockey coach Harendra Singh was utterly disappointed after yesterday's 1-3 defeat to arch-rivals Pakistan that virtually ended India's chances of making the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Ipoh.
India were leading 1-0 at half-time via a Rupinder Pal Singh drag-flick. However, at the change of ends the neighbours came out all guns blazing and struck through Umar Butta (49th min), Mohammad Imran (55th) and veteran drag-flicker Sohail Abbas (57th).
"The way we played the first half, anyone would have expected us to win the match easily. However, in the second half the boys were taken aback by the Pakistanis' fightback. Our boys began carrying the ball around unnecessarily. We were guilty of a slew of mis-passes too," Harendra told MiD DAY from Ipoh.
This was two-time defending champion, India's second defeat of the tournament after they lost their opener 2-3 to South Korea. They then beat Britain 3-1 and drew 1-1 with Australia. India next meet New Zealand.
However, Harendra admits that Pakistan have spoiled India's party. "This defeat has ruined our chances of making the final. However, we have to look forward to beating New Zealand (on Thursday) so that we can end up with a shot at third place. Given this is a relatively young and inexperienced side, I think a top three finish is good enough. But yes, a defeat to Pakistan always hurts," he said. Meanwhile, Australia beat South Korea 4-2 to go atop the table with 10 points, with England and Pakistan a close second with nine points each.