| Pakistan’s Rehan Butt (left) tries to thwart Prabhjot Singh during the third-place playoff at the Champions Trophy in Cologne Sunday. (AFP)
Cologne: India allowed in three goals in four minutes to squander a 3-1 lead as arch-rivals Pakistan avenged their earlier defeat with a stunning 4-3 victory in thebronze medal play-off in the Champions Trophy hockey meet on Sunday.
With goals from Jugraj Singh, Dilip Tirkey and Gagan Ajit Singh, India enjoyed a 3-1 advantage by the 56th minute — the lone Pakistan goal coming in the 28th minute from Mudassar Ali Khan.
However, as the Indians slackened, Pakistan stepped it up and pumped in three brilliant field goals in the last 11 minutes. Khan scored his second in the 59th minute and then Rehan Butt, who came in as a substitute just minutes back, struck in the 62nd and 63rd minutes .
The defeat came after India’s fine run in the meet, which included a thrilling 3-2 league victory over Pakistan. Once again it was Pakistan who attacked first and earned two penalty corners by the third minute. But Indian goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan thwarted specialist Sohail Abbas.
India’s forward line was somewhat hemmed in, with an extra defender on Dhanraj Pillay and Deepak Thakur, making them both shift positions. Thakur especially came in from the left instead of his usual right. India showed enterprise as the match moved on with Bimal Lakra having some great runs in the middle.
Later, Pillay who received the Player of the Tournament award said, “That was upsetting, especially after we had taken a 3-1 lead. But I guess, we just played a little loosely and paid the price.”
The 34-year-old striker said he was a little surprised to get award because “I didn’t know that they gave it to old men. But I would want to dedicate it to my entire team as without their support, I don’t think I would have got it.”
Earlier, India went into the lead in the 12th minute with their second penalty corner when Jugraj Singh scooped the ball into the left corner of the goal.
Pakistan finally equalised in the 28th minute off their third penalty corner. The Indians were committed for Sohail Abbas to take the flick but Pakistan sold the dummy as the pass went to Khan, the penalty corner pusher, standing just next to the Indian goal. Khan calmly flicked the ball past Chauhan. India earned their third penalty in the 48th minute. Indian captain, Dilip Tirkey was right on target and give India a 2-1 lead.
Attacking all the way, Bimal Lakra moved up into the Pakistan circle in the 53rd minute and nudged the ball to an advancing Gagan Ajit who ran wide, and as Alam fell, shot the ball in to make it 3-1.
Then Khan beat two defenders and shot it past a diving Chauhan to cut India’s lead to 2-3. Butt, playing his first international meet, equalised in the 62nd minute. With just seven minutes left, Butt latched onto a long drive from deep in the Pakistan half and brilliantly deflected it below Chauhan’s pads for the match-winner.
Aussies finish fifth
Australia finally won a match at the 24th Champions Trophy on Sunday after five successive defeats. A 3-0 victory over South Korea in the fifth place match means they maintain their ever-present record in the world’s top six and consigned South Korea to relegation. South Korea will be replaced by Argentina in the 2003 Champions Trophy in Amstelveen.