India wins the 'grudge match' against China 5-4
India survived the Chinese penalty corner blitz for a 5-4 win against China for their first win in group A league of the 16th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament.Updated: May 07, 2007 09:57 IST
India survived the Chinese penalty corner blitz for a 5-4 win against the Asian Games silver medallists for their first win in group A league of the 16th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Ipoh on Sunday.
In a bizarre match that saw 15 (rpt 15) penalty corners being awarded, nine (rpt nine) to China and six to India, besides two penalty strokes, India just about managed to cling to a slender lead after falling in arrears in the third minute.
China kept India on tenterhook by converting three of their eight penalty corners through Yang Yu (4th), Yi Song (20th) and Hui Ren Hu (37th).
However, the Indians, decidedly the superior outfit on the day, replied in kind. V Ramachandra Raghunath (19th, 43rd) flicked home two penalty corners after Prabhjot Singh (5th) had scored the equaliser. Rajpal Singh (35th) and Bimal Lakra (60th) converted a penalty stroke each to provide India an insurance against a late Chinese comeback that had Yi Song scoring his second goal of the match in the 64th.
Indian coach Joaquim Carvalho had dubbed it a "grudge match" in the light of China's 3-2 win in the Doha Asian Games last year. As such, the intensity was very much evident in their play and should have scored more than five goals.
The first-half was more or less even with both teams having fair share of exchanges and scoring opportunities.
While it took the Indians two goals to figure out the Chinese penalty corner variations, they looked the superior side when in flow. It was the Chinese man-to-man marking that denied the Indians more success.