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Indian hockey team held to 2-2 draw by sloppy Pakistan

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Gold Coast :All the excitement came down to the last seven seconds as the Indian hockey team’s perennial problem of conceding late goals left them with a disappointing 2-2 draw against a sloppy Pakistan in its Commonwealth Games opener here on Saturday.
A penalty corner earned in the last seven seconds, thought to be saved when taken, reinstated after an appeal by Pakistan, proved to be India’s undoing in what was a lacklustre clash for most part but for P Sreejesh’s brilliant saves.
Dilpreet Singh (13th minute), Harmanpreet Singh (19th minute) put India ahead before Mohammed Irfan Junior (38th minute) and Mubashar Ali (59th minute) drew parity and helped their team claim the moral victory.
“We were not happy with the performance. We wanted to win this game. We are disappointed with the result,” said a frustrated Indian defender Rupinder Pal Singh after the match.
However, he refused to blame it on the nerves of playing against the arch-rivals.
“It’s not special, we are playing a game. We were not emotional, just focusing on our strengths,” he said.
It was touted as the blockbuster clash of the preliminary stage and the turnout, at least, lived up to the hype. The diaspora of both the countries was out in good numbers. But adding to the fervour were the Australian fans, who showed up to just soak in the excitement of an Indo-Pak clash.
Not to forget the beat of the dhol, that usually amplifies the sloganeering, was also there adding to the atmosphere.
On the field, India dominated quite clearly despite being a bit sloppy themselves. Forward Dilpreet opened the scoring in the first quarter, helping the last edition silver-medallists end the first 15 minutes with a 1-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Harmanpreet Singh converted the second of the two penalty corner chances he got to put India in control.
Pakistan managed to earn a couple of penalty corners of their own but veteran Sreejesh guarded his citadel with the kind of elan that has made him a legend.
The Indians were clearly the superior outfit as far as controlling the ball was concerned, hoodwinking their rivals quite comfortably.
A weak penalty corner shot taken by Rupinder that was easily deflected by Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Butt started the slight change in momentum.
The competitive edge missing from their game in the first half, the Pakistani team was pulled back into the game by forward Mohammed Irfan Junior, who scored a field goal to narrow the gap between the two sides.
The goal was initially in the name of Muhammad Arslan Qadir but Irfan Junior’s faint touch was discovered during replays, prompting a revised credit.
Pakistan turned on the intensity in the final 15 minutes and were rewarded with three back-to-back penalty corners. But they just could not slot the all-important equaliser, denied by a solid Sreejesh and their own poor shots at the goal.
Mandeep Singh then had the chance to increase India’s lead in the dying minutes of the match but his shot was deflected.
With seven seconds left on the clock, Pakistan earned a penalty corner, causing some anxiety in the Indian camp, and the old fears turned out to be true.
The Indians ended up conceding the dreaded goal to let slip what should have been a comfortable win.


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Dhoni could be ‘exposed’ by Yuvraj’s dad after World Cup

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Mumbai: Father of recently retired former Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, Yograj has struck again, and all the signs point toward former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

While the cricketer is busy preparing for India’s next clash against Pakistan on Sunday after rain played spoilsport on the much-hyped India-New Zealand clash, a recent video of Yograj has surfaced where he speaks about an ‘un-named’ player who is responsible for the ‘dirty politics’ in the Indian cricket team.

Yograj further goes on to state that this player is the reason that many players like Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, and his own son Yuvraj Singh were not included in the Indian team at crucial points in time.

 

While Yograj didn’t reveal much about the player he talks about, he did mention that he’d make the complete revelations after the currently ongoing 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. Based on earlier allegations by Yograj, who was also a former pace bowler, towards then Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, It seems pretty evident that he is speaking of ‘Captain Cool’.

“I don’t want to take his name but he has been playing these dirty politics from the last 15 years. He has made lives difficult for Indian cricketers. I will make this revelation after the World Cup gets over. He will remember this for life that someone said something about him,” said Yograj.

“I don’t want to speak about him at this point in time because I don’t want the team to get affected during the World Cup,” he added.

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FIFA Rankings: India unmoved at 101

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London: The Indian national team remain unmoved in the June 2019 edition of the FIFA Rankings released.

Following India’s exit from the 2019 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Asian Cup, India have had a change in coach with Igor Stimac replacing Stephen Constantine.

Under Stimac, India recently participated in the King’s Cup 2019 in Thailand where a 3-1 defeat against Curacao (79) was backed by a 1-0 win over hosts Thailand (116) in the third-place play-off.

 

GFX India FIFA Rankings June 2019

The Blue Tigers are set to face Tajikistan (120), DPR Korea (122) and Syria (85) in the upcoming Intercontinental Cup 2019 next. India enter the tournament as defending champions.

Meanwhile, in the global standings, Belgium continue to lead at the top having bettered their advantage over second-placed France who also stay put in their position, the same as Brazil and England at third and fourth spots respectively.

2019 UEFA Nations League champions Portugal have displaced Croatia to stand fifth while Spain (7) has gained two places. Germany (11 – tied with Argentina), Italy and Netherlands (both at 14) have also moved two places up.

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Coutinho brace helps Brazil forget Neymar in winning Copa start

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Sao Paulo: A brace from Philippe Coutinho handed hosts Brazil a winning start to the Copa America in a 3-0 victory over Bolivia as the absence of superstar Neymar was quickly forgotten.

Barcelona’s Coutinho scored from the penalty spot early in the second half and added a close-range header three minutes later.

Substitute Everton netted a sensational third five minutes from time to clinch a Group A victory for coach Tite’s tournament favorites in Sao Paul.

 

The build-up to the competition had been dominated by Neymar’s woes, firstly when he was accused of rape by a Brazilian model, and then when he damaged ankle ligaments in a friendly last week, forcing him out of the Copa.

If Brazil’s first-half performance was anything to go by, the Paris Saint-Germain star was sorely missed, but Coutinho’s brace at least silenced the jeers that met the team at half-time.

“Whistles are part of the game, the fans want us to win and play well, so that’s why they jeer,” said the match-winner, whose goals papered over the cracks of an at times disjointed performance.

“We always want their support but we’re focused on the objective, which is the match,” Coutinho told Brazil’s SportTV.

“Whistles or cheers, the important thing is to stay focused and get the win.” Brazil made a bright start and predictably dominated the early possession and chances
But surprisingly their greatest threat came from set-pieces with Coutinho’s corner delivery causing panic in the Bolivian backline.

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