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Sandeep, Ajitesh score twice as India whip England
Jaishree Balasubramanian | March 31, 2005 21:21 IST
Defending champions India thrashed England 5-1 in the six-nation junior hockey tournament in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
Captain Prabodh Tirkey scored through a penalty-corner, while two field goals by Ajitesh Roy and two brilliant penalty-corner conversions by Sandeep Singh were the high points of India's thumping victory.
India led 4-0 at half-time.
India's convincing win comes after the unfortunate incident of the umpire handing out two yellow cards to the team on Wednesday in their clash against Pakistan, which led to the champions playing with only nine players in the crucial last few minutes and eventual loss 2-3.
"Today's win was most important for us. The boys were all charged up; they realised the mistakes they had made in their matches so far and played as a unified team," coach Harendra Singh said after the match.
Ajitesh displayed both skill and agility when he dived to corner the ball from Adam Sinclair and netted it straight in. His second goal was also a swift dive to the right to get the pass from Hari Prasad which he converted into a winner.
"Ajitesh's goals were fascinating to watch; he expedited beautiful connections and got two excellent goals," the coach said, complimenting the young player.
Harendra picked penalty-corner specialist Sandeep Singh, who has consistently produced goals in all the matches so far, for special mention.
"Sandeep Singh is our main weapon. When he scores the moral of the entire team shoots up," the coach added.
He said during the match he tried to use all the players.
"All of them got a chance to play, (except the reserve goal keeper)," the coach said.
"The youngsters' body language was exceptionally good today especially after yesterday's bad luck at the India - Pakistan match," he added.
Harendra was of the view that umpires somehow do not consider an India-Pakistan encounter as a "normal game". They perceive it as a "high tension" game putting additional pressure on the players, he said.
The coach said when the European players nudge rival team players the umpires take it as part of a normal game, but with India - Pakistan they see it as an incident warranting the yellow card.
After a rest day on Friday, India take on hosts Malaysia on Saturday.
The winner of that match will enter the final, to be played on Sunday. Pakistan has already booked a place in the final.
In today's other matches, Pakistan flattened Germany 5-0 and Malaysia beat South Korea 2-1.