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India to face Korea in semis

Source: PTI
April 26, 2004 11:42 IST
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Reigning World Junior champions India and hosts Pakistan won their last league encounters in emphatic style to top their groups and avoid a clash in the semi-finals of the fifth Junior Asia Cup hockey tournament in Karachi on Sunday.

Sandeep Singh scored a goal in each half to help India edge out Malaysia 5-2 in Group B while Pakistan romped home with an unexpected 7-3 win over defending champions South Korea.

India, who won the Junior World Cup in Hobart, Australia in 2001, now meets Korea while Pakistan take on a relative easier opponents in Malaysia in Tuesday's semi-finals.

Singh converted a penalty stroke in the 28th minute and added another in the last minute of the match as the reigning  World Junior champions won their fourth match in a row but had to fight hard against a spirited Malaysia.

In day's other matches, China defeated Sri Lanka 1-0, while Singapore upset Japan 2-1.

Against the rampaging Indians, Malaysians showed grit in the second half as they pulled back two quick goals to reduce the deficit to 2-3 and looked ominous to come on level terms but Vikram Raja scored a field goal and Singh's only goal in five penalty corners sealed the fate in India's favour.

India had opened the score through skipper Sandeep Michael as early as in the 10th minute and then doubled the  lead through a penalty stroke goal by Singh.

Michael made it 3-0 soon after the start of the second half but Malaysia rallied back brilliantly with two quick goals.

Their penalty corner expert Mohammad Rejabb scored twice in the 39th and 44th minute as a partisan crowd rooted for the Malaysians.

Hosts Pakistan, spurred by a handsome holiday crowd of  5,000, scored four goals in the space of ten minutes after  Korea restored parity twice to come level on 3-3 by the 50th minute.

The defending champions scored through Sung Kweon Hong and Sung Hoon Yoon but were later annihilated by the hosts.

For Pakistan penalty corner expert Imran Warsi scored twice (29th, 47th) while right winger Adnan Zakir hit two  spectacular goals in the 53rd and 59th minute in a match which was played at robust pace.

Korea had opened the scoring in the 14th minute through Jong Hyun Jang but Pakistan not only erased their lead but took a 2-1 lead through goals from Asim Khan and Warsi.

Pakistan took complete charge in the last 15 minute of the second half as Koreans had no answer to their rapid moves.

"It's a great delight and we never expected the margin of win to be so big but boys played superbly in the last 15 minutes," said Pakistan coach Asif Bajwa after the match.

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