India, Pakistan play out draw

Tejbir Singh scored off a reverse flick in the dying minutes to earn a 1-1 draw in the fourth hockey test against Pakistan.
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Updated on Feb 22, 2006 05:55 PM IST
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None | ByReuters, Lahore

India forward Tejbir Singh scored off a reverse flick seven minutes from full time on Wednesday to earn a 1-1 draw in the fourth hockey test against Pakistan.
Pakistan, which won all the three test matches on the Indian leg of the series, was a far better team at the National Hockey Stadium in this eastern city before Singh surprised with the late equalizer.

Pakistan's forwards were quick on the breaks, but denied a point by Malaysian umpire Mohammad Rafique in the ninth minute after the ball appeared to have clearly deflected into the goal by Shabbir Hussain's stick off Dilawar Bhatti's pacey free hit.

Muhammad Imran broke the deadlock when his hard push beat Indian goalkeeper Bharat Kumar from Pakistan's third penalty corner in the 15th minute - the home team's only goal off a short corner in four matches.

"It was unfortunate that we lost so many scoring opportunities, we should have scored at least four goals today," Pakistan coach Asif Bajwa said.

"Senior players like Shabbir Hussain, Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi looked relaxed in the middle after three matches," he added. After leading 1-0 at halftime, Hussain missed at least two opportunities to stretch Pakistan's lead inside three minutes when he failed to utilize Butt's cross from the right flank. The Indian forwards hardly combined in to challenge the strong Pakistan defense before Singh got an opportunity in the 63rd minute and his flashing reverse flick off guarded Pakistan goalkeeper Salman Butt.

Pakistan defeated India 2-1 and 3-1 in the two matches played at Chadigarh before recording a 2-1 win at Jullundur in the Indian leg of the annual six-test series between the subcontinental archrivals. The fifth test match will be played Friday in Faisalabad, followed by the last encounter in Rawalpindi on Sunday. 

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