India face arch-rivals Pakistan in a must-win match

 India will have to put behind the disappointment of their back-to-back defeats and come out all guns blazing against arch-rivals Pakistan in their next round-robin match tomorrow, to keep their chances alive in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament here.

India, however, could take heart from the fact that both their previous ties were close encounters.

A young Indian side had put up a spirited fight before going down 3-4 to six-time champions Australia in their opening encounter, while a defensive lapse towards the end in the second match cost them dear as they went down 1-2 to South Korea.

Pakistan, on the other hand, opened their campaign with a 3-4 win against New Zealand before being crushed 0-6 by Australia last night.

India, after their impressive show against the Aussies, were expected to do well but they were completely outplayed in the first half yesterday by the Koreans, who took a 1-0 lead.

The Indians, however regrouped themselves in the second session and found the equaliser from one of their numerous raids into the rival citadel.

But a lapse in concentration in the dying minutes of the game enabled Korea to score the all-important winner.

After suffering two consecutive defeats, the onus now would be on India to quickly fix their grey areas before tomorrow's do-or-die battle.

Even though India's chief coach Michael admitted the pressure would be immense on his wards against Pakistan tomorrow, he said the players have been advised to take the match "as just another one".

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