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 July 31, 2002 | 1700 IST

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India edge into semis
in women's hockey

India squeezed into the semi-finals of the women's hockey competition at the Commonwealth Games, beating South Africa 4-3 via a golden goal by Suman Bala Saini in the cross-over play-offs on Wednesday.

In a contest between South African power and the fast-flowing skills of the Indians, the latter staged a grand rally from 0-3 down at the breather to come out trumps.

In the other match to decide the last semi-final slot, Leisa King scored a hat-trick as England beat Scotland 6-1 to set up a showdown with Australia on Thursday evening.

With New Zealand and Australia having made the semi-finals by virtue of finishing on top in Pools 1 and 2 respectively, India, who finished third in Pool 2 with four points, took on Pool 1 second placers South Africa, who finished with six, in the match to decide the other two semi-final slots, while Pool 1 third placers Scotland (3 points) met Pool 2 second placers England (5).

Jyoti Kullu scored twice while Pritam Siwach and Suman Bala Saini got a goal each for India.

For South Africa Pietie Coetzee got a brace while Jennifer Wilson accounted for the other goal.

In the semi-finals, India will meet New Zealand, who had earlier beaten them 3-1 in the Pool 2 league.

Trailing 0-3 at the half time, the Indians bounced back in dramatic fashion by pumping in three goals in quick succession to draw level before Suman Bala Saini turned tables on the South Africans by scoring the golden goal early in extra-time.

India's golden goal came seven minutes into extra-time, when Suman deflected a powerful Pritam Siwach shot into the goal to send her team mates and their supporters into a frenzy.

India's lacklustre display in the first half allowed South Africa to take advantage. They scored two goals within the first 15 minutes as the Indians had no clue about the rampaging P Coetzee, who gave her side the lead in the fourth minute. She soon made it 2-0 with another goal in the 13th minute.

J Wilson added to the misery of the hapless Indians, scoring the third goal a minute before half time.

However, the second half saw a completely different Indian team as they found their rhythm to take control of the game with a fine blend of defence and attack.

It was Pritam who drew first blood for India in the 46th minute with a superb goal.

Sensing their chances, India increased the attacks and soon earned a series of penalty-corners. The South Africans panicked as the Indians unleashed a series of attacks from both the flanks and won more penalty-corners as the rival defenders tried to foil the moves.

Jyoti Kullu scored her first goal, the second for the side, in the 62th minute when her shot off a penalty-corner beat the South African goalkeeper.

Soon Jyoti levelled the score, again off a penalty-corner, in the 64th minute.

England too good for Scotland

England dominated from the start and began the goal-glut in the 14th minute, when Leisa King scored from a penalty-corner.

Helen Grant increased the lead after 31 minutes.

In the second half, goals from captain Sarah Blanks and Kate Walsh, after 40 and 48 minutes respectively, put England 4-0 up.

Samantha Judge managed to pull one back for the Scots in the 50th minute before King could add two more to her tally and complete her hat-trick.