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India demolish China
May 16, 2004 19:23 IST
India blanked China 4-0 in their last league match on Sunday to strengthen their claim as one of the finalists in the four-nation hockey tournament in Gifu, Japan.
India scored twice in each half through Arjun Halappa (11th min), Inderjit Singh Chadha (26th min), Girish Pimpale (52nd min) and Adam Sinclair (63rd min).
Recording their second win after beating hosts Japan in the opener, India set up a possible title clash against Asian Games champions South Korea on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, heavy rain delayed the start of the Japan-South Korea match.
The game was twice interrupted by rains even as Indians began the match on an aggressive mode, making forays into the China defence at regular intervals through forwards Sandeep Michael, Tushar Khandekar and Arjun Halappa.
Midfielders led by captain Ignace Tikey, Bimal Lakra, V S Vinay and Vivek Gupta suffocated the China attacks with efficient tackles and ball rotations.
India, missing a chance to take lead through Khandekar in the 5th minute, were awarded their first of four penalty corners in the 8th minute when Michael was obstructed in the Chinese circle. However, the tall teenaged Sandeep Singh narrowly missed the mark as his push went inches wide.
Success came through Halappa who scored the first goal in the 11th minute when the Bangalore lad moved in tandem with citymate Michael to beat the Chinese custodian with a spectacular reverse flick.
Indian led 2-0 after winger Inderjit Singh Chadha moved the net in the 26th min when he latched on to a rebound off an indirect penalty corner.
Indian domination continued in the second half despite the game slowing down due to the heavy turf as halfback Girish Pimpale increased the lead in the 52nd minute. The Mumbai based player deftly pushed home after beating two defenders.
Adam Sinclair, member of the recent victorious Junior Asia Cup squad, rounded off the Indian tally sounding the board from the edge of the circle in the 63rd minute, after intercepting a long through ball from Tirkey.
China earned their only penalty corner in the dying moments of the match after William Xalco was pulled up for deliberate obstruction, but their attempt to reduce the margin was warded off by goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza who palmed away the sweep push.
With this win, India have six points from three games while South Korea enjoy an unbeaten record of six points from two matches.
Hosts Japan have three points from two games and only if they upset the Koreans by a huge margin, could they be in the final. India also enjoy a healthy goal difference of plus four, should there be a three-way tie.