July 04 2020
New-look India pip South Africa
17 January 2012

an experienced India team scored a comfortable 4-0 win and created many goal-scoring opportunities against South Africa. On Tuesday, with several from the core members of what is likely to be the final Indian team for the Olympic qualifiers rested, the hosts struggled to a 2-1 victory. Sandeep Singh scored the winner with a penalty-corner conversion in the dying moments. The South Africans deserved at least a draw. However, the visitors were let down by poor finishing.

India were captained by Tushar Khandker, who completed 200 international caps, despite the presence of regular skipper and goal-keeper Bharat Chhetri. The hosts were slow, failed to anticipate moves, were error-prone in both passing and trapping.

In fact, for the entire first-half, they struggled to keep pace as South Africa, having shaken off some of their rustiness, were all over the place as they attacked more, created chances.

“We made a lot of unforced errors, we need to get better,” admitted India coach Michael Nobbs. “But we have to remember that we made eight changes to our team; this is practically our weaker team compared to yesterday. This combination has not played much but we are not only trying to get a playing XI for India, we are also trying to build a fresh base of players,” the India coach added. South African coach Gregg Clark rated his team as “almost 80 per cent better than yesterday”.

On Monday, Sardar Singh and Arjun Halappa were the workhorses, who made the difference in the midfield. In their absence, the playmaker’s role fell to Vikram Pillay and Ravipal, who tried their best but lacked support. India got their first goal against the flow of play in the 33rd minute when Chinglensana took a free hit and played a one-two with Sandeep Singh before slotting the ball high into the net.

... contd.



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