India downed 2-3 by Great Britain

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Santiago, (Chile) Mar 7 (UNI) India muffed chances galore and lost 2-3 to Great Britain in the Olympics qualifying hockey tournament here.

This was India's first defeat in the tournament after three consecutive victories.

India now has nine points from their four matches while Great Britain has 12 points from an equal number of encounters.

India started on a bright note and took the lead early on as dragflicker V R Raghunath converted a penalty corner in only the second minute of the match.

However, India was dealt a severe blow in the sixth minute as Vickram Kanth was shown the yellow card for a foul on Robert Moore.

Vickram, who elbowed Moore in the face had to sit out for 10 minutes. His absence cost India dear as Britain equalised soon after through Richard Mantell (15th, PC).

India, however, continued to have the better of the exchanges as Tushar Khandekar, who intercepted a pass from the left, fired a low shot to the right of the goalkeeper, forcing him to pull off a brilliant save.

The reigning Asia champions suffered another setback as Shivendra Singh was shown the yellow card for a foul on Middleton. While Ashley Jackson was green carded just before half-time.

India started the second session with a bang as Prabhjot Singh missed a sitter in the 37th minute with only the goalkeeper to beat.

England surged into the lead a few minutes later through Jonty Clarke (45th) who was totally unmarked inside the penalty area.

Raghunath (64th, PC) levelled the scores for India as he slammed in a powerful dragflick.

The equalised drove Britain to press harder and they came up with some threatening moves. Moore (39th) sealed the issue in favour of the British as he dived to deflect a pass from Simon Mantell a few seconds before the final hooter.

India will now take on host Chile in their next match while Britain will lock horns with Austria on Saturday.

UNI XC AB MP BST0432

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