India pip China 1-0 in Asia Cup hockey
India began their campaign in the Asia Cup hockey tournament on a winning note on Friday, piping China 1-0 in the last match on the opening day of the tournament.india Updated: Sep 01, 2007 04:21 IST
India began their campaign in the Asia Cup hockey tournament on a winning note on Friday, piping China 1-0 in the last match on the opening day of the tournament.
In other matches Friday, Pakistan beat Hong Kong 6-1, Bangladesh pulverised Thailand 13-0, South Korea beat Sri Lanka 12-2, and Malaysia swamped Singapore 8-0.
The Chinese were more nimble, had more to do with the ball, got the better end of the bargain in umpiring decisions and certainly looked like the winning team, but ultimately, it proved to be India's day.
The lone goal of the match came in the 46th minute from Dilip Tirkey during a melee in front of the 'D' when he was briefly left unmarked.
India's penalty corner specialist V. Raghunath, however, had a very disappointing outing as he miffed five drag shots.
Even worse, on at least on two occasions when the ball was scooped towards him, he seemed to be at leisure - standing and staring away from the action.
Generally, the Indians were listless throughout the match - chasing the Chinese whenever they managed to take possession of the ball, which was often. But, under pressure, goalkeeper Baljit Singh managed to bring off miraculous saves at least twice - much to the chagrin of the opponents.
The Chinese played an uncharacteristically defensive game, being content with the control of the ball and not pressing for opportunities to dent the Indian defence.
We had six new players in the team so it was that much more difficult," Chinese team manager Zhao Xiao Yu said at the post match press conference.
"The gap between us and the two other Asian giants (India and Pakistan) has narrowed down considerably. Today we played a waiting game, which did not pay in the final scheme of things," Zhao added.
Indian coach Joaquim Carvalho didn't miss a beat when he referred to a couple of umpiring decisions that impacted on Raghunath's game.
"I can't say he had an off-day. Usually when a player makes a good move in the beginning of the match and the referee turns it down, it tells on his morale. There will be other matches and Raghunath will come up trumps," Carvalho maintained.
"A match cannot be won on penalty corners alone. We used today's opportunity to test both our flanks and our cohesive movements. But now, we have broken the jinx of always losing matches in tournaments. Now, we look at the positive side of things - and at our planning for the South Korean encounter (on Monday)," Carvalho added.