Free Press Journal

India eyeing outright win against SA to seal semi-final spot


Glasgow: High on confidence after the spirited showing against Australia, the Indian men’s hockey team would look to win outright against South Africa in their final group match here tomorrow, even though a draw is enough to seal their semifinal spot in the 20th Commonwealth Games.

Going into tomorrow’s crucial match, both India and South Africa have six points from two wins apiece but the Sardar Singh-led side occupy the second position behind Australia in Group A on account of better goal difference.

Last edition’s silver medallist India has a goal difference of plus four as against South Africa’s zero, and the Terry Walsh’s boys are fully aware that a draw would be more than enough for them to make it to the knockout stage of the quadrennial event.

The Indians would be high on confidence ahead of tomorrow’s duel, especially after their impressive performance against regning Commonwealth Games gold medallist and world champions Australia.

India put up a valiant fight before going down 2-4 against mighty Australia, who blanked them 0-8 in the final of the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.

While the forward line and midfield have so far managed to produce satisfactory result in the tournament, it is the fragile backline which remains a cause of concern for India.

Against Australia yesterday, the Indians conceded two soft goals, mainly defensive lapses, in the first half to hand the initiative to the opponent.

And coach Walsh is fully aware that his wards will have to do away with their habit of giving away easy balls to the opponents or otherwise it can spell doom for the Indians.