Faisalabad, Feb 24 (UNI) India muffed chances galore before they pulled off a much needed win, beating Pakistan 2-1 in the fifth hockey test here today.
This was India's first win after three consecutive defeats at home and a draw in Lahore and salvaged some pride for the Asia Cup winners. Pakistan already have an unassailable 3-1 lead in the six match series.
Pakistan took the lead through Imran Warsi, India equalised through Rajpal Singh and then Kanwalpreet scored the winner.
India, unlike in the last four matches, dominated the proceedings and forced nine penalty corners, once three consecutive, but each of them was a case of how never to take a penalty corner. The one that Kanwalpreet Singh scored the match-winner actually came of a rebound and the Indian full back had ample time and space to shoot in.
India enjoyed territorial advantage, made most of the moves and had the midfield, for once, putting in a huge effort with Prabodh Tirkey giving outstanding display.
Pakistan, on the other hand, seemed relaxed but the Indian defence played much better than what they have done in the series, closing the gaps and most importantly backing each other up.
India had a penalty corner in the sixth minute but there was too much gap between the ball and the stick, the time allowing the Pakistan defence to keep out the flick.
The Indian forwards, enjoying gaps in the Pakistan midfield, created the moves but the finishing was again poor. Vikram Pillay and Arjun Halappa cruised with the ball, their sharp through balls throwing the Pakistan defence in a tizzy.
But, as has been the norm in the series, Pakistan took the lead in the 28th minute through a classic conversion by Imran Warsi(1-0).
He twisted his torso to the right and as Chetri went for his left, threw the flick into the goalkeeper's right hand corner.
With two minutes left in the first half, Didar Singh had a wonderful chance but he didn't do the elementary procedure that forwards do when facing the goalkeeper look up and shoot. Didar's shot while looking at the ball, went wide off the target.
India had another great move when Ignace Tirkey passed to Shivender whose onward cross dissected the defence but Tejbir after beating the goalkeeper Nasir Ahmed couldn't control the shot.
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