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India rout Malaysia, enter semis

July 13, 2008 09:37 IST

Drag-flicker Diwakar Ram continued his fine form and scored a brace to give India a comfortable 3-1 victory over Malaysia and place in the semi-finals of the men's junior Asia Cup hockey tournament, at the Gachibowli stadium in Hyderabad on Saturday.

Diwakar, who found the target twice in India's 2-0 victory over Japan in their first match, converted two penalty-corners, in the 31st minute and 42nd minutes, in the Pool 'A' match.

Mohd Khairil Anurar Isa reduced the margin for Malaysia in the 40th minute.

The Indians were attacking for most part of the match while the Malaysians relied mainly on counter attacks. India were also thwarted by some excellent saves by Malaysian goalkeeper Abdul Hakim Adnan.

With two wins from as many matches, India ensured themselves a place in the semi-finals.

They play Singapore in their last match.

The hosts, who led 2-0 at the breather, dominated the first session with Pramod Kumar putting them ahead in the 27th minute through a field goal off a pass from Ranjeet Singh before Diwakar cushioned the lead four minutes later.

The Malaysians responded strongly in the second half. They got as many as four penalty-corners in a row in the first five minutes of the second half and reduced the margin in the 40th minute, with Mohd Khairil Anurar Isa sounding the board.

Just as it looked like the Malaysians would level the score, Diwakar converted another penalty-corner two minutes later to take the game away from the visitors' reach.

India coach A K Bansal rued the missed chances but said he was satisfied by the performance of his boys so far in the tournament.

"We could have scored more but overall we played well. It is not the question of goal margin, as finally only winning matters to us. The Malaysian goalkeeper too saved some good chances," he said.

"The main thing is to reach the semi-finals and we have achieved that. I hope the boys will keep on doing better in the remaining matches," he added.
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