India loses to New Zealand 1-2, finish sixth

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Melbourne, Mar 24: A disoriented India's cup of misery was full to the brim as they frittered away the lead and lost to New Zealand 1-2 via Golden Goal to finish sixth in the men's hockey competition of the Commonwealth Games here today.

India led 1-0 at half time.

The two teams were playing against each other after a 18-month gap. The last time they face each other was in Athens Olympics where India lost to the Kiwis in an acrimonious tie.

For the Indians, Sandeep Singh scored the goal in the 24th minute off a second penalty corner and New Zealand equalised through Bevan Hari in the 40th minute and as the teams were levelled 1-1.

The extra time was played in which Phillips Burrows scored the Golden Goal in the second minute .

The Indians played well in the first half in which they earned two penalty corners and managed to convert one and also had an easy chance to increase the lead but once again Deepak Thakur muffed up the sitter.

In the competition, Thakur missed some of the easiest possible chances and his side had to pay the price and today was no exception.

The Kiwis also made some good counter moves but Simon Child, Bradley Shaw and Beaven Hari could not convert the openings into goals.

They also wasted two penalty corners in this session once Hayden Shaw's shot was cleared by a defender and next his shot was wide off the target.

The Indian midfielders -- Ignance Tirkey, Vikram Pillay and Prabodh Tirkey -- gave a good account of themselves in this session but the forwards could not utilise the opening made by them.

There was a sudden slump in India's performance in the second session as the Kiwis suddenly took over control of the proceedings.

Simon Child, Bevan Hari and Blair Hoppings set up some good moves which rattled the Indian defence.

The flurry of attacks from the flanks and counter-thrusts from the centre created panic among the Indians who seemed to be clueless of the happening around.

Capitalising on the situation, the Kiwis launched ligtning counter-moves and drew parity through Bevan Hari who shot home following a defensive lapse (1-1).

The equaliser further demoralised the disjointed the Indians and but the Kiwis could not make use of this situation. They kept attacking but their forwards proved poor marksmen and in between Kanwalpreet Singh, Tejbir and then Sandeep Singh were shown yellow cards but that made no difference as the Kiwi forwards also continued with their wayward ways.

Slowly the match became a big yawn. The players seemed to be going through their motions as there were as no cohesive move from either side. The players ran around aimlessly and the ball went from one end to the other but never reached near the goal.

The 70 minutes play ended at 1-1 and to end the deadlock, extra time was played. But it lasted barely two minutes as Philips Burrows ripped through the unsettled Indian defence to shot home the winner with a Golden Goal (1-2) that comlpeted India's agony in this competition.

UNI

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