Home > Sports > India hold South Africa 3-3, play for seventh-eighth positions

India hold South Africa 3-3, play for seventh-eighth positions

March 9, 2010

India narrowly saved the blushes with a late goal to finish 3-3 with South Africa in Pool B of the Hockey World Cup here Monday.

Lloyd Norris-Jones (8th minute) put the visitors ahead, before the Indians struck through Sarvanjit Singh (17th) and Vikram Pillay (24th) to lead 2-1 at half time.

But South Africa bounced back with strikes from Ian Haley (39th) and Austin Smith (47th) through penalty corners and went 3-2 up, much to the dismay of a large crowd at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

Shivendra Singh (66th) scored the equaliser in the dying moments to ensure a fourth place finish for India with four points in the Pool. South Africa are at par with India on points but ended fifth on goal difference, leaving Pakistan at the bottom.

The hosts, who are ranked 12th in the world, would now clash for the seventh-eighth positions against the team finishing fourth in Pool A. South Africa would have to settle for the play-off for the ninth-tenth slot.

The first session of the game saw the Indians dominate the later part with some inspired and thrustful hockey after the South Africans showed the initiative in the early minutes during which they missed a couple of chances, besides scoring the goal.

The visitors took the lead as Norris-Jones launched on a speedy solo from the midfield and hit home from top of the circle, as a hush descended on the stadium. India’s shoddy defending came to the fore as Jones went virtually unchallenged.

Stung by the reverse, the Indians built up pressure and restored parity midway through the session. Arjun Halappa did the spadework and passed on to Prabhjot Singh who found Sarvanjit near the circle. Showing beautiful stickwork, Sarvanjit got past three defenders and also goalkeeper Erasmus Pieterse before putting the ball in.

Buyoed by the goal, the Indians played a more attacking game and Pillay and Danish Mujtaba got into a fine one-two two but they could not finish.

However, the Indians managed to make the scoreline 2-1 following a penalty corner that saw Pillay deflect a pass from Diwakar Ram into the net.

There was no change in the scoreline till the break, though the South Africans came close to scoring when Paul Blake dived to deflect a cross, but his left handed effort went marginally over the roof of the net.

As in the earlier session, the South Africans called the shots early in the second half, and again equalised with Haley finding the target from a penalty corner.

The match turned highly competitive and fast as the two sides showed more attacking intent, the crowd having their money’s worth.

The game, however, saw some controversial moments with the umpire disallowing an Indian goal in the 45tht minute following a referral sought by the South Africans who claimed they had earned a penalty corner before India’s goal-bound move.

Indians had drummed up a fine combination with Gurwinder Singh Chandi and Rajpal Singh setting up Sarvanjit to push in. but the video umpire ruled out the goal and instead awarded the penalty corner to the South Africans.

South Afrcia got two back-to-back penalty corners and from the second Smith made it 3-2.

The Indians got back into their attacking ways, and Pieterse saved a certain South African collapse by tipping over a Sarvanjit deflection.

The South Africans packed their defence with more men, and resisted the relentless Indian onslaughts dourly but finally caved in five minutes from close as Shivendra scored from a goalmouth melee.

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