Spirited India fight back to claim bronze medal

New Zealand outplay Pakistan 4-2 to lift Champions Challenge trophy


Their hopes to qualify for Champions Trophy dashed after the semifinal defeat against arch-rivals Pakistan, the Indian team was trailing 0-2 inside the first half an hour before V Raghunath (35th minute), Gurbaz Singh (54th) and Dhananjay Mahadik (69th) sounded the board to complete the win.

Argentina had lion’s share of ball and the hosts managed a series of penalty-corners but Indian custodian P Sreejesh stood tall under the bar.
On the second one, Pedro Ibarra collected the rebound but sent his shot in the clouds and finally Facundo Callioni opened the account in the 22nd minute with a shot from a difficult angle. India tried to shift play into the Argentinean half but Callioni hit the target again soon with a spectacular diving deflection.
Stung by the quick goals, the Indians pulled up their socks and started to dominate but they could not get close enough to generate a decent chance.

In the final second of play, they earned a penalty-corner and Raghunath converted it, reducing their deficit going into the break and winning the momentum back.
The Indians maintained the tempo and put pressure for the first 10 minutes of second-half on their rival but Ibarra, Fernando Zylberberg and Ignacio Bergner, backed by Juan Tomas Espinosa, looked rock solid.

Argentina had an opportunity to stretch the lead but Thomas Argento’s spectacular reverse missed the mark by a whisker. Meanwhile, India found the equaliser in the 54th minute through Gurbaj after some excellent work along the backline by Tushar Khandker.

Having erased the deficit, the Indians were on a role. Shivendra Singh had a good chance after collecting a long pass but it was finally a penalty-corner by Dhananjay that earned them the lead.
Argentina had a last chance on a penalty-corner, but Ibarra could not cash in on and India won the bronze, much higher than their sixth entry ranking in this competition.

Kiwis book CT berth
New Zealand qualified for next year’s elite Champions Trophy after scoring a 4-2 win over Pakistan in the final.

The summit clash between the two top ranked teams began on an aggressive note, with penalty-corner specialist Sohail Abbas scoring in seventh minute to put Pakistan ahead 1-0. Black sticks replied with a penalty-corner conversion 10 minutes later with Ryan Archibald deflecting on the post. In the 20th minute, New Zealand scored a sumptuous goal with Phillip Burrows, diving full length to deflect a cross from the left, giving his team a 2-1 lead. Pakistan could not penetrate the compact rival’s defense and tried to use long passes but in vain.

In the last minute of first-half Rehan Butt pounced on a ball in the crowded circle and acrobatically managed to shoot it out of reach of Pontifex, levelling the scores.  In the second half, Kiwi’s went in the offensive with Simon Child, Phillip Burrows and Ryan Archibald, circulating the ball with speed and accuracy.
New Zealand scored two goals in quick succession in the last five minutes, first by Steven Edwards and then with Phillip Burrows, both at the conclusion of fast offensive moves that swept away the Pakistani defense.

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