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"There is lot of time to go for the World Cup and we are showing improvement. If we keep the pace we have a fair chance to win the World Cup. We are moving forward step by step" - Indian coach, Harendra Singh
Apr 9

Written by: Sundeep Misra
Thursday, April 09, 2009 


India 2 New Zealand 2

Petherick - 8th min

Sandeep Singh - 27th min, 48th min

Bartholomew - 63rd min

Going by the results of some of the recent matches played between India and New Zealand, an Indian victory seemed to be the most obvious result, when the two teams faced each other for their third match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament. India had got the better of the Black Sticks in four of the last six matches played. The remaining two had ended in a stalemate.

However it was the Kiwis who got off to a quick start taking the lead in the 8th minute. Richard Petherick, who made his debut at this tournament four years ago, found the net from a penalty corner. The early setback put the Indians into action as they started making inroads into the Kiwi circle. The efforts finally paid off as India earned a penalty corner in the 26th minute. Captain Sandeep Singh scored his third goal of the tournament to put India on level terms. The teams went into the locker room tied at 1-1.

The Indians seemed to pick up from where they left in the second half and Sandeep converted another penalty corner in the 48th minute for his second of the game. Despite the lead, the Indians seemed to ease off a bit and that allowed New Zealand to work their way into the match. Skipper Blair Hopping played the leading role in creating the moves and constantly pressurised the Indian defence. However, the Indians could not stand the onslaught and conceded their fourth penalty corner of the match with just over seven minutes remaining. 20-year old Joseph Bartholomew, who is playing his first international tournament, sounded the board for the equaliser.

The draw means, that both India and New Zealand have to win their last league match to make it to the final. India have a tough clash with arch-rivals Pakistan, who beat Egypt 4-0 on Thursday, while the Kiwis take on Malaysia. The hosts need only a draw to confirm their spot in the title clash. 



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2 comment(s) so far...

Re: New Zealand hold India 2-2

India missed a golden chance to show progress in this tournament by draw against Egypt. I do not see them winning with a superior goal average against Pakistan. I have a question for Sundeep Sir. It is already April 2009 and if we look at the present teams performance, it is nowhere near Holland, Germany, Australia, Spain. India is in second league with new zealand, pakistan, argentina, south africa. This present team at best can defeat or draw these second string teams (That also is in doldrums as these teams will improve and will be in peak next year while we are on a downslide). This was the norm under KPS Gill regime. Now I have a question. Which players we see not at par in the present team? and which players from junior team (Diwakar and company) can come in this team in place of them? Also the IOA/IHF will be busy with fresh elections, court case with Gill & company and J B Roy and company wanting to become IHF president. I wish A K Bansal had continued as coach since last Azlan shah cup, some progress was shown there in the field of hockey.

A Frustrated Hockey Fan,
Munna,
USA

By munna on   Saturday, April 11, 2009

Re: New Zealand hold India 2-2

Better than a defeat. I'm not sure who held whom. The problem about conceding late goals has to be a function of the physical fitness and the opponent teams know it. They exploit it to the hilt. I'm going to make a prediction - India will beat Pakistan and go to the finals. I also think, India will get a shot at the Kiwis again in the finals. As long India has the ability to maintain sustanied atttacks, no opponet is safe. The match against Pakistan will be the real test for India in this Azlan Shah as Shakeel Abassi may be the best forward in the world today. Keep him in check and India wins the match. India will miss Raghunath and Xalco for their defending skills. India has to beat Pakistan for the psychological advantage it would given them for the Asian Cup in May. They are both in the same pool.

By Kuldeep Singh on   Saturday, April 11, 2009

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