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India miss out berth in final

Jaishree Balasubramanian in Kuala Lumpur | April 02, 2005 21:27 IST

Defending champions India lost the crucial match against Malaysia 0-1 in the junior hockey tournament in Kuala Lumpue on Saturday, failing to enter the final after questionable decisions by the neutral umpires.

A distraught Indian coach Harendra Singh was clearly upset with two yellow cards and another decision to disallow a field goal by one of his players.

Nitin and Vivek Gupta were shown yellow card by the two umpires from Australia and New Zealand.

"Nitin was first yellow carded because the umpire said he had clashed with a Malaysian player. Next Vivek Gupta was shown the yellow card for pushing another player," Harendra Singh said after the match.

This was the second time in this tournament that India fell victim to some poor umpiring decisions.

The first instance was during their clash against Pakistan, when India were left with nine players in the last minutes after goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza and captain Prabodh Tirkey were both shown yellow cards.

The win put Malaysia in the title round against Pakistan on Sunday while India will play South Korea for the bronze medal.

Against Malaysia, a goal scored by India's Ajitesh off a deflection was also disallowed by the umpires.

"It was a clear goal, but it was disallowed," Harendra said.

India were also denied at least two penalty corners while one "unnecessary" penalty corner was awarded to Malaysia.

"Anyway, we have to accept the decision and treat it as a lesson to us," Harendra said adding that all players had put up a co-ordinated play limiting the score to one goal.

Harendra had noted during the Pakistan-India outing that when the Asians play, their close dribbling and stick work is seen by umpires as "body clash" while when the European play in the same manner it is seen as normal game.


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