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India 'stroke out' Malaysia in semi-final
October 29, 2003 19:40 IST
Last Updated: October 29, 2003 21:27 IST
India and Pakistan will clash in the final of the Afro-Asian Games men's hockey tournament. Both made the grade with contrasting victories on Wednesday.
India laboured to a 5-3 tie-breaker victory over Malaysia, after being held 1-1 after 70 minutes of regular time and 15 minutes of extra-time, while Pakistan cruised past South Korea, winning 2-0 in the other semi-final.
India failed to capitalize on several chances that came their way in the first-half of the semi-final and were forced to go through the ordeal of extra-time and the penalty shoot-out, in which they scored all five strokes against only three by the Malaysians.
Arjun Halappa, Bimal Lakra, Gagan Ajit Singh, Prabhjot Singh and Kanwalpreet Singh were on target for India while Kevin Raj, Shanmugam Kuhan and Mohammad Amin Rahim scored for Malaysia.
Chua Boot Huat, who had a fine match earlier, failed with his attempt, pushing wide. Malaysia's fifth stroke was not necessarry.
India held early ascendancy but were unable to dent the Malaysian defence. They used long hits into the rival circle to splinter through but poor trapping proved their undoing. Deepak Thakur, Gagan Ajit and Halappa too were guilty of squandering some easy chances. The last-named had two good tries at goal but Malaysian keeper Kumar Subramanium did well to foil his efforts.
However, Halappa made amends in the 19th minute, scoring with a stiff shot after being put through by Prabhjot Singh.
But the hosts' joy was shortlived as the Malaysians hit back in the next minute from their second penalty-corner.
Chua Boot Huat veered away from two onrushing Indian defenders as he received the ball after the flicker sold a dummy and pushed into the Indian goal.
India, who held the lion's share of possession right through the half, had two gilt-edged chances after that goal but Sandeep Michael hit wide from close and Halappa sent the ball over with a reverse hit following a long pass from Prabhjot Singh.
In the second session, it was the Malaysians who called the shots in initially with smart possession play. The Indians managed to control play ten minutes from the end and forced three penalty-corners but were unable to execute them properly.
Earlier, in the first semi-final, Pakistan scored once in each half to beat South Korea 2-0.
The match between the two Asian giants failed to rise above the mediocre as Pakistan preferred to play safe to contain the hard running Koreans.
Ghazanfar Ali converted a penalty-corner in the 34th minute to give Pakistan the lead while Shakeel Abbasi made it 2-0 with a fine field goal ten minutes from the hooter.