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India in women's hockey final
October 28, 2003 22:45 IST
A determined India came up with a brilliant all-round performance to beat mighty South Korea 3-0 and set up a title clash with South Africa in the women's hockey tournament at the Afro-Asian Games at Hyderabad on Tuesday.
Goalkeeper Helen Innocent's brilliant performance under the bar coupled with a sublime effort from forwards helped India demolish their powerful opponents before a packed house at the Gachibowli stadium.
India's brilliant exploits made the South Koreans rue missed opportunities. The Koreans squandered not only a penalty-stroke but also 11 penalty-corners.
The victory enabled the hosts extract revenge for their loss in the Asian Games in Busan last year, which put India out of the competition.
For India, Surinder Kaur (35th), Sanggai Chanu (39th) and Jyoti Sunita Kullu (69th) scored the goals.
In the Thursday's final, India will meet South Africa, who beat China 4-0 in the first semi-final.
It was significant win for the new-look Indian side since they came to the tournament without five of their key players, who were part of the team when it won the Commonwealth Games gold in Manchester last year.
"It would be a tremendous boost for the players, particularly the new faces in the side," chief coach M K Kaushik said after the match.
The Indians were clearly the dominant side in the first half but failed to cash in on their superiority, particularly in the initial 20 minutes, due to some poor finishing by Sanggai Chanu, who had otherwise a brilliant day on the field.
Earlier, Captain Susan Webber's double strike in the second half helped South Africa blank China 4-0 for a place in the final.
Leading 1-0 at the half-time, the South Africans pumped in three more goals in a space of 10 minutes to dash the World Cup winners' hopes.
Susan slammed home in the 43rd and 53rd minutes after prolific scorer Pietie Coetzee's goal gave South Africa the lead in the third minute.
Kerry Bee scored a field goal in the 44th minute.
Earlier, in the battle between minnows, Kenya overcame Ghana while Kazakhstan beat Nigeria in the play off matches.