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India, Pakistan to clash in final
March 12, 2005 20:30 IST
India set themselves an opportunity to avenge their defeat against Pakistan in the league stage when they routed South Africa 3-0 to storm into the final in the four-nation junior hockey tournament in Karachi on Saturday.
All the three goals came in the first half, through Vikram Kanth (6th minute), Birendar Lakra (25th) and Ajitesh Roy (32nd).
India had lost 0-3 to Pakistan in the tournament opener.
Earlier, in the first semi-final, the hosts routed Japan 7-0.
Tariq Aziz (45 and 65th minutes), Imran Warsi (17th), Yasir Islam (24th), Khalid Mahmood (26th), Arif Mohammad (57th) and Akhtar Mohammad (67th) scored for the winners, who enjoyed a commanding 3-0 lead at the lemon break.
However, Pakistan's penalty-corner conversions left much to be desired. The green shirts could convert only one of the five they earned. Japan wasted all the six they forced.
India also should have won by a comprehensive margin but their forwards relied mostly on personal heroics and individual gamesmanship while in goal-scoring positions.
They were no less pathetic with their penalty-corner conversions as they failed to convert all the nine they forced.
India's coach Harender Singh, however, defended his team's inability to convert penalty-corners, saying the services of Sandeep Singh are being badly missed.
"We are badly missing Sandeep Singh, but, frankly speaking, when we arrived here, we relied only eight per cent on penalty-corners while 92 per cent on field goals," he said.
Asked to comment on Sunday's final against Pakistan, he said: "I think there will be more pressure on Pakistan because they are the home team and, therefore, have the favorites tag against their name.
"Besides, I think, they have a weak defense that moves slowly. Now it's up to us how we can capitalise on Pakistan weakness."
South Africa will meet Japan in the 3rd/4th play-off match.