India produced a spirited fight before being outplayed by Taiwan in Group 3 match in the men’s handball competition at the 18th Asian Games here on Sunday.
The Indians were let down by some poor defending during a 31-35 loss in what their third match in the group stage.
India are now second in the group with four points from three matches. Taiwan finished the group stage at the top spot with eight points, having won all their four matches.
India had started their campaign with an easy 45-19 win over Malaysia. They then edged out arch-rivals Pakistan 28-27 in a thrilling contest which saw the winning goal being scored in the dying seconds.
The Indians will take on hosts Indonesia in their final group engagement on August 29.
Goalkeeper Kamaljeet Singh was one of the standout performers for India during Sunday’s match as he pulled off a string of brilliant saves to keep the deficit within manageable limits right till the end.
The Indians enjoyed the height and physical advantage which allowed their forwards to score at regular intervals. But they were made to work hard for each goal by the well organised Taiwan defence.
The occasional bout of poor co-ordination and some below par play on the wings also harmed the Indian cause.
Naveen Punia and Sachin Bhardwaj were the top scorers for India with five goals each while the experienced Greenidge D’Cunha got four.
But the real let down for the Indians throughout this tournament has been their leaky defence. The defenders struggled to get together a semblance of co-ordination during Sunday’s game. The man marking was extremely poor and the occasional tendency to give the ball away easily saw them concede soft goals.
Taiwan were easily the superior team since their technical and tactical ability was street ahead of their opponents. Their tight, well organised defence and the ability to create fast counter-attacks from the backline coupled with their lighting quick speed have seen them dominate all their group matches.>