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Asia Cup: India eye bronze in junior hockey

Source: PTI
May 12, 2012 17:40 IST
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Their title hopes dashed after the semi-final defeat, defending champions -- India would aim that they do not return empty-handed from the junior hockey Asia Cup and win at least a bronze when they take on South Korea in the play-off match, in Malacca, on Sunday.

India will seek to put up a good show against Korea and thus end the tour on a victory note.

"We will take up the third match contest with all the seriousness it deserves. I told the boys to forget the Thursday defeat and charge up for the last match here," said coach Baljit Singh Saini.

Indian team had a two-hour practice session on the main turf of the MBMB Stadium. Saini with his support staff and visiting senior team coach Michael Nobbs were putting the boys on drill, with a focus on scoring.

"This team, despite short time preparation, is doing well in all departments except scoring. Even against Malaysia, we had more circle penetration and ball possession.

"Malak Singh, Mandeep Singh, Satbir Singh, Akashdeep Singh are dashing forwards. They lack the kind of opportunism that is required at this level. Today we put some extra effort on scoring practice," he said.

After registering a 11-0 victory over Sri Lanka, India found wanting in goals, as only four goals were struck in the next three matches, including the Thursday semifinal in which India failed to post even a token goal.

Having played against Korea in his international career at both junior and senior level, Saini sounded caution.

India started their campaign well, thrashing Sri Lanka 11-0 but thereafter found goals hard to come by. India drew Pakistan 2-2 before narrowly wining against China 2-1 and thus reached second in the pool.

Malaysia easily overcame lethargic India 2-0 amidst a packed house.

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