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Goalkeeper Adrian takes India to final
April 27, 2004 21:02 IST
Arch-rivals India and Pakistan set up a final clash after registering contrasting victories in the semi-finals of the fifth junior Asia Cup hockey tournament in Karachi on Tuesday.
While Pakistan were emphatic in their 5-2 victory over Malaysia, India had a hard time beating South Korea 4-3 in the second semi-final that was decided on penalty strokes.
The final, on Thursday, will be the first clash between the traditional rivals on Pakistani soil in five years.
Following the victories, both India and Pakistan secured berths in next year's junior World Cup, to be played in Amstelveen, The Netherlands.
Indian, reigning World junior champions, owe their success to goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza, who saved two penalty strokes after the energy-sapping match ended goalless after 70 minutes and two extra-time sessions of 15 minutes.
Both teams matched each other's skills but lacked finishing.
D'Souza, however, took India to the final by stopping the fourth and fifth penalty strokes from Yong Cheol Shin and Jong Hyun Jang.
India had lagged behind after their penalty-corner expert Sandeep Singh, the tournament's top scorer with 14 goals, missed the third penalty stroke. But D'Souza saved India in the end with two brilliant saves.
Korea will play Malaysia for third-fourth places. The winner of the match will also qualify for the World Cup.
In the other semi-final, penalty-corner ace Imran Warsi struck twice as Pakistan cruised into the final.
Warsi's goals took his goal tally in the tournament to 11. Pakistan had to wait until the 61st minute to take a decisive two-goal lead as Malaysia threatened to come on level terms with a spirited display.
The Junior Asia Cup serves as the regional qualifying rounds for next year's World Cup to be held in Amstelveen, The Netherlands.
Three Asian teams, two finalists and the winners of the third-fourth play-off, will qualify for the World Cup.
Malaysia stunned the hosts with a fifth minute field goal when Ismail Abu took full advantage of a sloppy Pakistan defense.
The hosts had to wait until the 22nd minute for the equalizer, which Warsi scored from the team's second penalty-corner.
The teams were locked at 1-1 after the first half but Pakistan took the lead two minutes after the break when Mahmood Ali scored from a move on the right and six minutes later Warsi increased the lead with a brilliant flick from a penalty-corner.
Abdul Jalil pulled one back for Malaysia in the 49th minute as Pakistan continued to spurn good chances at the other end.
However, Yasir Islam (61) and Kashif Yaqoob (68th) scored to seal the game for Pakistan.
In the classification matches for fifth to eighth places, Japan beat China 3-2 through a golden goal after both teams were locked at 2-2 in regulation time.
Bangladesh beat Singapore 3-0 to set up a clash with Japan for fifth and sixth places tomorrow. The final is scheduled for Thursday.