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Champions Challenge: India held by New Zealand

Last updated on: December 07, 2009 18:56 IST

India twice squandered the lead and settled for a 2-2 draw with New Zealand in their Champions Challenge opener in Salta, Argentina, on Monday.

India went into the breather with a 1-0 cushion after Tushar Khandker earned them the lead.

Dean Couzins equalised in the 47th minute but hivendra Singh put India ahead again. 

New Zealand equalised again, this time through Andrew Hayward, to take a point from the match.

The Kiwis were on the offensive early in the match, with Ryan Archibald looking in ominous form.

The Indians defence, however, did a neat job, ensuring that goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza was not really troubled. Still, Phillip Burrows nearly scored on one occasion when his deflection from close range missed the mark by a whisker, much to the relief of the Indians.

India relied more on counter-attacks at that stage and one such move culminated in Khandker sounding the board.

Desperate for the equaliser, the Black Sticks besieged the Indian goal but Sardar Singh and his colleagues in the Indian defence ensured there was no setback till the breather.

The Kiwis were unrelenting even after the break but the Indian defence looked impregnable till the 47th minute when Dean Couzins converted a penalty-stroke, completely wrong-footing goalkeeper D'Souza.

For India, Shivendra Singh nearly scored from the next attack but his deflection from close range hit the post. Soon, he got a similar opportunity. This time the Indian forward made no mistake and beat Kyle Pontifex all ends up as India regained the lead.

New Zealand, however, simply refused to throw in the towel and were rewarded for their resilience when Hayward scored from a penalty-corner.

Both the teams then went all out for the winner and played an attacking brand of hockey but could not breach each other's defence.

In other matches, Argentina spanked South Africa 6-2, Pakistan beat Canada 2-1 and Belgium prevailed over China 4-3.

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