The match against Singapore started on a positive manner for India and the team scored its first goal in the 14th minute, when Baljit Singh Dhillon converted a penalty-corner into goal. Dhanraj Pillay then made his trademark quick run through the Singapore defence, five minutes after the goal and scored a brilliant goal to take the lead to 2-0. That was just the beginning that India needed and after the first 2 goals, India scored another seven goals and completed the huge winning margin of 9-0 in the match. Dhanraj Pillay alone scored four goals in the match and he was also instrumental in most of the other goals.
India played its second match in the tournament against Bangladesh and Dhanraj Pillay once again made a huge difference between the two teams. Dhanraj was in extraordinary form right from the beginning of the match and he scored two goals within the first 17 minutes in the match. After putting his team 2-0 ahead in the match, Dhanraj Pillay continued his aggressive runs through the Bangladesh defence and he helped the players like Dhillon, Aldrin and Riaz to score another 3 goals within a short period. India was leading 5-0 in the break and Dhanraj Pillay and his teammates completely stretched the Bangladesh defence in the second half. Dhanraj himself scored the sixth goal for India and played a crucial role in the seventh goal that was scored by Dilip Tirkey. India eventually won the match by a huge margin of 7-0.
The Indian team was high in confidence after winning the first two matches of the Asian Games, Bangkok, 1998 with huge margins, and it played the next match against China. Dhanraj Pillay was in his usual form in the match and he scored the first goal for India to go ahead in the match. However, the Chinese came back in the match within a short period by scoring the equaliser, thanks to a lapse in the Indian defence. After the first half ended 1-1, the Indian team increased its attacks on the Chinese defence in the second half and Dhanraj Pillay was making his quick runs through the Chinese defence to put on more pressure on them. However, the Chinese players somehow restricted the Indian players from scoring goals almost throughout the entire second half. Mukesh Kumar broke the dead lock for Indians just 6-7 minutes before the end of the play and provided India a 2-1 win. Dhanraj Pillay's wonderful form in the tournament was evident from the fact that he scored eight goals from these three matches.
India's next match in the Asian Games, Bangkok, 1998 was against the reigning champions South Korea, and India would become the topper in the pool, if they got a win in the match. India would also be able to avoid the mighty Pakistan team in the semi-finals with a win in this match. India started the match on an attacking mode against the powerful South Koreans and Dhanraj Pillay and Mukesh Kumar were making most of the moves. India got its first goal of the match through the stick of Baljit Singh Dhillon and soon, Dhanraj Pillay scored a wonderful goal to take the lead to 2-0. The Indians continued to maintain the pressure on the Korean defence; however, the Koreans became successful to score only one goal. India eventually won the match by 2-1 and met Japan in the semi-finals.
Dhanraj Pillay and his team continued its wonderful form in the Semi-Final of the Asian Games, Bangkok, 1998 also and India took the lead against Japan, in the 17th minute of the match. It was Baljit Singh Dhillon who provided the lead by scoring a goal from a penalty corner. Dhanraj Pillay was playing brilliantly in the match and Sabu Varkey was also accompanying him well. India scored its second goal in the 29th minute, when Ramandeep Singh successfully converted a penalty stroke into goal. In the second half of the match, Japan became successful to score a goal and decreased the margin to 2-1. Dhanraj Pillay then scored the third goal for India in the 50th minute and sealed the match for India with a margin of 3-1. It was the tenth goal for Dhanraj Pillay from the five matches he played in the tournament till then and it was undoubtedly a brilliant run for him.
India played against the South Korea team in the Final match of the Asian Games, Bangkok, 1998 and Dhanraj Pillay, the India Captain was quite confident and determined of winning the championship title. India won the Asian Games title only once in the year of 1966 and that was encouraging the Indian players to win the title once again. It was also a dream for Dhanraj to win the Gold medal, as he failed to win any Gold medal in any of the big tournaments that he played till then. India started the match in a bit shaky mode and South Korea took advantage of this shakiness and scored the first goal in the match. However, the Indians came back in the match without much delay and Dhanraj Pillay scored the equaliser for India, when a ball came off the pads of the Korean goalkeeper. The Indians held the momentum nicely and started to increase the pressure on the Korean defence, more and more.
The South Korean players did well to somehow save themselves in front of the sea of attacks that Dhanraj Pillay and the other Indian players were making to their defence. As a result, the match ended 1-1 during the specified period of time and also during the extra time. In the tie-break, both the teams were feeling the pressure. The Indian goalkeeper, Ashish Ballal became the hero for his nation, as he stopped two Korean strokes in the tie-breaker. As the Indian players like Mohammed Riaz, Baljit Dhillon, Ramandeep Singh and Mukesh Kumar scored from their strokes; India eventually won the match in tie-breaker by 4-2. It was definitely the most memorable and successful tournament in Dhanraj Pillay's career, as he scored as many as 11 goals from 6 matches in the tournament. The fact of India winning the championship title after a long gap of 32 years just added to the happiness of Dhanraj Pillay.
(Last Updated on : 17-07-2013)
|More Articles in Dhanraj Pillay (18)|