Winning against Pak showed mental strength of boys:Michael Nobbs

Michael Nobbs

Indian hockey coach Michael Nobbs today said that the victory against arch-rivals Pakistan twice in a span of seven days was very pleasing.

India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan 4-2 in a thrilling encounter and avoided the wooden spoon in the fifth-sixth place classification match of the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament here today.

"It showed the mental strength of the boys and in a testing time for the characters, they came out victorious," said Nobbs after the match.

The coach picked up Manpreet Singh and drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh as the best of the lot.

Nobbs said that the team has been continuously playing since last November and the players deserve a break now.

"The players have had a long drain, which started from November. Now the players deserve a break."

Asked to comment on the last-minute controversial penalty stroke, which helped Malaysia eke out a 2-2 draw against India yesterday, Nobbs said, "The video replays convinced me that the umpire had made a mistake."

India were leading 2-1 until the last minute yesterday when the umpires, after awarding a penalty corner to Malaysia, consulted and changed their decision into a penalty stroke, which Faisal Saari converted into a goal to deny India a win.

For Malaysia, there was not much at stake, having already made it to the final of the tournament even before taking on India. However, India had to pay a huge price, for a win would have meant playing for the third-fourth place and a possible podium finish.

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