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India pull one back

Visitors clinch their first victory after three losses at home and a draw in Pakistan.

india Updated: Feb 26, 2006 19:57 IST

A late resurgence helped India register a 2-1 win over Pakistan in the fifth match of the bilateral hockey series here on Friday. With their maiden win after three home losses and a draw, the visitors managed to close the series score to 3-1.

The Indians were in control of proceedings for most of Friday's match as the hosts were guilty of an insipid performance. Despite adopting a cautious approach, the Indians looked the better side in terms of coordination and ball possession.

Imran Warsi drew first blood for Pakistan in the 28th minute by converting a penalty corner. India came roaring back in the final 15 minutes with Rajpal Singh (55th) and Kanwalpreet Singh (61st) shooting home to earn a moraleboosting victory.

The match lacked the usual spark that one associates with an Indo-Pak encounter. The hosts did not display the energy of the earlier matches while the Indians wanted to prevent any further damage to their confidence in the series. Continuing with their poor conversion rate, the Indian strikers could not capitalise on the several chances they got. Tejbir spolit two gilt-edged chances while Didar, Sardara, Vikram Pillay and Shivinder messed up an opportunity each in the first half.

Pakistan paid the price for fielding inexperienced youngsters in the forwardline for much of the match as a few good crosses went abegging till Warsi gave them the lead. The Pakistan defender showed presence of mind to fool goalkeeper Bharat Chetri with his body movement before drag-flicking the ball into the net. For India, captain Ignace Tirkey gave a creditable performance while Arjun Halappa broke the shackles to open the game for the visitors.

A spirited Rajpal earned the equaliser for India. After a solo move, he gave a back pass to V S Vinay near the D to dodge the defenders and received the ball again to finish off the move nicely. However, India could not di rectly convert even one of the nine penalty corners they got. Scores of short corners were undone by either their faulty plans or goalkeeper Nasir Ahmed's brilliant saves.

RESULT: India beat Pakistan 2-1

First Published: Feb 26, 2006 19:57 IST