Ipoh : India’s campaign in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey started on a disastrous note with debutant Egypt holding them 2-2 in their opening match here Sunday.
Last year’s runners-up India paid dearly for their age-old malady of conceding last-minute goals as Egypt pulled off an unlikely draw in the 70th minute through Mohamed El Saied’s penalty corner strike.
Egypt matched India in fast paced hockey despite playing on a heavy pitch due to a downpour prior to the match.
Three-time champions India were jolted early in the eighth minute as Egypt took the lead through Mohamed Hassan’s penalty corner hit.
Stung by the reverse, India stepped up tempo and managed to equalise through skipper Sandeep Singh’s penalty corner strike in the 15th minute.
India launched waves of attack after the equaliser but failed to break the deadlock before halftime.
Stepping up the pressure in the second half, India took the lead through another penalty corner, this time taken by Shivendra Singh in the 49th minute.
Egypt, however, did not give up and their efforts bore fruit when a lapse in concentration by the Indian defence earned them a penalty corner in the last minute. El Saied made no mistake of slotting the ball home.
Egypt coach Jerzy Wybieralski hailed his team for its performance.
“They gave a consistent performance throughout the match and needed a little bit of luck to win when playing against a team like India,” he said.
India have now two days’ rest before taking on Malaysia Wednesday in the five-team tournament.