India to first fight with ills within

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> India will have to check their tendency to concede last-minute goals when they take on arch-rivals Pakistan.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:09 IST
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India will have to check their tendency to concede last-minute goals when they take on arch-rivals Pakistan. It promises to be a high-voltage classification match for the 5-8 positions in the Olympic Games. The Indians also saddled by injury woes, have been haunted by the problem of conceding goals in the dying minutes and a similar blow could lead to their downfall against their bitter foes. Out of a medal contention, India are now aiming for a top-five finish which would help them qualify for the Champions Trophy to be held in Pakistan in December. Tightening their game For three times in a row the Indians have been laid low by last minute goals which have cost the eight-time gold medallists heavily. Chief coach Gerhard Rach is aghast by the elementary mistakes his wards have been committing in the dying stages. It is an aspect of the game which has tormented the Indians for a long time and it remains to be seen whether the tough talking by the coach will have any bearing when the two Asian giants clash at the Helliniko Hockey Centre. Playing their best Dilip Tirkey and his men are trying to make sure that the recent controversies do not weigh on their minds when they take on Pakistan who are also known to be a highly inconsistent team. Any clash between the traditional rivals generally brings out the best in the players and it would be no different tomorrow. The Indians suffered a last minute reversal to be held to a 2-2 draw by Argentina in their last league match to finish fourth in Group 'B' with four points, behind defending champions the Netherlands (15), Australia (10) and New Zealand (9). Pakistan took the third position in Group A with nine points behind Spain and Germany finished with an identical 11 points. A worried team Spain got the top position by virtue of a better goal difference. The injuries to several key players have also left the Indian camp a little worried ahead of the potentially nerve-wracking encounter. The injury to goalkeeper Arian D'Souza will serve as a big blow for the team looking to improve upon its seventh-place finish in the last Olympic Games in Sydney. (PTI)

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