India split points with New Zealand in Jr World Cup

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> India frittered away numerous chances to settle for a disappointing 2-2 draw against New Zealand in the group match of the FIH Junior Hockey World Cup.

Updated: June 09, 2009 13:40 IST
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India frittered away numerous chances to settle for a disappointing 2-2 draw against New Zealand in their second opening round group match of the FIH Junior Hockey World Cup at the Seng Kang Sports Complex here on Tuesday.

The Black Sticks, who led 2-1 at the lemon break, scored their goals from two stray chances inside the Indian circle, while their rival forwards missed easy opportunities and especially captain Diwakar Ram disappointed as he converted only one out of the six penalty corners India earned.

For India Diwakar (13th) and Pramod Kumar (37th) found the net, while the marksmen for New Zealand were the Child brothers -- Simon and Marcus -- in the 10th and 32nd minute respectively.

Both India and New Zealand now have four points from two outings while Holland are atop the leaderboard in Group D with six points from two outright wins.

India will next play the mighty Holland in an all-important clash on Thursday.

In the today's encounter against the Black Sticks, India should have broken the ice in the eighth minute but inside forward Pramod was guilty on that occasion, shooting the ball over the crosspiece. A minute later, right winger Mandeep Antil squandered another easy chance when he shot wide.

In the 10th minute Kiwi skipper Simon Child gave his side the lead against the run of the play. He seized a loose ball atop the striking circle and dodged past defender Innocent Kullu and then wrong footed custodian Mrinal Choubey to gently tap the ball inside the Indian goal with a reverse stick.

However, India drew parity shortly with Diwakar making no mistake in finding the net with a low drag flick past Kiwi custodian Devon Manchester from their first short corner in the 13th minute.

But from thereon, India seemed to have lost their grip and momentum and committed numerous errors with gross mispassing amongst their midfielders and forwards.

The Indian errors ultimately bore fruit for their opponents in the late stages of the opening half when central midfielder Arun Panchia set up an unmarked Marcus Child, who wrong footed Indian goalkeeper Choubey to sent home the ball and see his side go into the breather with a 2-1 lead.

After the breather, the Indians steeped up the accelerator and restored parity within two minutes. Antil and Pramod combined well on the right with the latter pushing into an empty goal after drawing out Kiwi goalkeeper Manchester.

However, India wasted numerous match winning chances in the second session as Diwakar squandered as many as five penalty corners and the forward line comprising Mohammad Amir Khan, Danish Mujtaba and Dharamvir Singh were guilty of squandering many opportunities upfront.

Meanwhile, in a Group A match of the day, defending champions Argentina defeated Belgium 3-0.

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