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India disappoint on hockey's opening day

India were forced to split points with a gritty Scotland after their opening Pool A hockey match in the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi today ended in a 1-1 draw.

delhi Updated: Oct 04, 2010 21:05 IST

India were forced to split points with a gritty Scotland after their opening Pool A hockey match in the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on Monday ended in a 1-1 draw.

Scotland took the hosts by surprise when they opened a 1-0 lead in the third minute through Holly Cram in the day's last match at the Major Dhyan Chand stadium.

India, silver medallists in the 2006 Melbourne Games, were forced to play catch-up from there on, leaving a home crowd of just 200 fans largely disappointed.

They did manage to equalise when Jasjeet Kaur Handa slotted in a field goal in the 45th minute but failed to find the winner in the face of a spirited display by the Scots.

India's teenaged star, Rani Rampal, who finished as the second best scorer in last month's World Cup at Rosario in Argentina, failed to work her magic this time.

"We missed many chances today," said the 15-year-old Rampal. "Our finishing was very poor. Our next game against Australia will be very crucial now. We will try to work on our weaknesses in time for that match."

Cram said she was glad her team got to play an evening game.

"Thankfully heat was not a factor for us," said the forward. "We created a lot of chances and played attacking hockey. We are disappointed with the result because we had chances to score more goals".

In an earlier Pool B match, Norbaini Hashim scored two crucial goals as Malaysia pulled off a narrow 3-2 win against higher-ranked Canada.

Malaysia coach Atan Yahya said his team was not worried by Canada's late charge.

"We had a really good defence," he said. "I'm pleased with our second half performance, although the last 20 minutes were tougher. Our defenders were focused and looking at what was in front and not what was behind them.

"Also, we were a little lucky because our goalkeeper had a very good game."

Canada's coach Louis Mendonca said his team paid for conceding the early advantage.

"We played well for a very young team, but it's not an excuse for the loss," he said. "We had a bad start, and we paid for it. We need to learn to start better."

In the other matches of the day, New Zealand drubbed Wales 5-1 while South Africa trounced minnows Trinidad and Tobago 12-0.

Veteran Pietie Coetzee scored four goals including a hat-trick for South Africa to emerge as the star of the day.

Coetzee, making a comeback to international hockey after a five-year break, has now bagged 198 goals from as many matches, a record among the current players.

Dirkie Chamberlain added three goals, two of which were field goals, while Jennifer Wilson hit a brace to kickoff South Africa's campaign on a high.

"I am very happy with my hat-trick," said Coetzee. "It is a privilege to score a hat-trick in an international match, and considering it is my comeback year, it is very satisfying."

In the opening match of the competition, Katie Glynn put the Black Sticks ahead in the 18th minute before Wales equalised through Abigail Welsford 15 minutes later in the Pool B encounter.

But world number seven New Zealand denied their 27th-ranked rivals any further success, scoring in quick succession in the second half through Gemma Flynn (37) and Anna Thorpe's brace in the 51st and 59th minute.

Defender Clarissa Eshuis sealed the matter off a penalty corner just one minute before the final hooter.

First Published: Oct 04, 2010 21:03 IST