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Australia, India to clash in final
October 07, 2005 20:53 IST
Australia and India will clash in the final of the Indira Gandhi Gold Cup hockey tournament.
The Aussies made the grade after beating the Indians, who had already made it to the final on Thursday, 2-0 in their last league match of the tournament.
Australia aggregated 10 points and ended up atop the league table. India, who suffered their first defeat in the tournament, placed second.
Defending champions Australia also ended the title hopes of their trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand, who will face Italy in the third-fourth place play-off.
In another match of the day, Italy trounced Malaysia 3-0.
The Aussies rode on a brace by Rivers Megan, who scored in the 32nd and 56th minutes.
Although the match was inconsequential for the Indians, their only loss in the tournament has handed a phsycological advantage to the Aussies ahead of the Saturday's final.
The Indian forward line, which displayed much promise against New Zealand on Thursday, was particularly disappointing as they failed to create openings and let slip whatever chances came their way.
Coach M K Kaushik said the team will need motivation before the final.
"We will have to motivate ourselves before the final tomorrow. We did not want to lose this game. We attacked in the first half but were dull in the second," the former Olympian said after the match.
He also said the defenders were a bit slow in recovery, which cost the team two goals.
"Australia plays fast attacking hockey and our defence was slow to react at times. The positioning of the forward line also needs to be improved," he added.
While Australia played an intelligent game, making good moves in the first half, Indian captain and goalkeeper Helen Mary came up with timely saves to keep the scoreline down to just a goal at half-time.
In the second session, Megan latched on to a long pass from the left flank, kept her cool amidst three defenders, and pushed the ball into the net to seal the issue for the Aussies.
Australia coach Frank Murray was happy with his team's performance.
"I am happy with our performance. We played better today. We hope we come out with our best in the final tomorrow."
Earlier in the day, Italy converted two penalty-corners in the first half, through Quarantan Valentina and Faustini Francesca respectively, before Jasbeer Singh netted the third goal to complete the rout of Malaysia.