Hockey: India eye redemption against Pak
Bruised and battered after their shocking ouster from the title race, an inconsistent India would look for solace when they take on arch-rivals Pakistan in a 5th-8th classification match of the Hockey World League Semi-Final here on Saturday.
India, ranked sixth in the world, crashed out of the podium race after suffering a 2-3 loss to 14th placed Malaysia in a quarter-final match on Thursday.
The loss to Malaysia, their second in two months, would be hard to digest for Roelant Oltmans' men who have been trying hard to regain their place in the elite league of world hockey.
The loss didn't make any difference to India's participation in this year's Hockey World League Final and next World Cup as being the hosts they are already assured of a place in the two events. Both events are to held in the Indian city of Bhubaneswar.
The Indians, who were inconsistent throughout the tournament, should take the loss as a lesson and work on their mistakes.
Even though India hold an edge over Pakistan having thrashed them 7-1 in the pool stages here, the tussle between the two nations can be unpredictable.
Just like the pool match, emotions will run high on both sides and come on Saturday, Pakistan will be desperate for a revenge. The defeat against Malaysia still fresh in their minds, it remains to be seen how the Indians regroup so quickly. A loss would be disastrous for Indian hockey, which has seen an upward trend over the last few years.