India beat Spain to salvage some pride

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:27 IST

India beat 1998 World Cup silver medallists Spain 3-0 to qualify for a 9th-10th playoff match at the 10th World Cup hockey in Kuala Lumpur.

India beat Spain to salvage some pride
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Kuala Lumpur:

Regaining form, though a little too late in the tournament, India beat 1998 World Cup silver medallists Spain 3-0 to qualify for a 9th-10th playoff match at the 10th World Cup hockey in Kuala Lumpur. India, who will now play the winners of the Japan-New Zealand match, scored through skipper Baljit Dhillon (6th), Jugraj Singh (18th) and Deepak Thakur (28th). India, without ace striker Dhanraj Pillay who sustained a hip injury in the last match against Australia, had played Spain in the Sydney Olympics and beaten them by a 3-2 margin. After a listless first half, Spain tried to come back in the second forcing four penalty corners but couldn't beat the Indian defence which was superb, especially Dilip Tirkey who, in the words of team coach C R Kumar, "had an extraordinary game." India took the lead in the 6th minute when skipper Baljit Dhillon took the ball from outside the striking circle and went past three defenders to smash home. In the 17th minute, came the second goal when India earned their first penalty corner. Jugraj Singh flicked in to the right corner beating the Spanish goalkeeper Herrera Bernardino. Spain tried to fight back through Escarre and Pol Amat but thrice were beaten back by the defence where Dilip Tirkey, Lazarus Barla, SS Gill, Ignace Tirkey all did their best. Spain would have reduced the margin when Escarre, after beating Devesh Chauhan, slid the ball towards goal but Thirumalvalvan, coming in fast, made a goal line save. Devesh Chauhan also had a good game where he kept out two very good penalty corner flicks. In the 23rd minute, India had their second penalty corner but even after taking three shots, Spanish goalkeeper saved all of them. India's third goal came in the 27th minute when Deepak Thakur picked up a loose ball in the circle off a melee and smashed it past the goalkeeper. Three goals up, the Indians were looking good for more when Spain forced two penalty corners to reduce the pace. Just before the break, Spain had two penalty corners but both were wasted. In the second half, Spain pushed and increased the pressure on the Indian defence but Dilip Tirkey and Lazarus Barla with Jugraj Singh held on. India had some breaks but Prabhjot, Baljit Dhillon and Thakur couldn't use them to the team's advantage.(PTI)

Topics : Hockey
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