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India, Pak to clash in Jr Asia Cup hockey semis

Source: PTI
July 14, 2008 20:53 IST
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Defending India squandered penalty-corners galore but still pumped in three goals in each half to blank Singapore 6-0 and set up a semi-final with arch-rivals Pakistan in the sixth Junior Asia Cup hockey tournament in Hyderabad on Monday.

Drag-flicker Diwakar Ram (31st, 64th, 67th minutes) scored three goals, while Roshan Minz (25th), S V Sunil (26th) and Gurwinder Singh Chandi (61st) accounted for the other goals.

In a Pool B match, Pakistan came back from a 1-2 deficit at half-time to thrash Bangladesh 8-2 and finish second in the group.

With the resounding win, India topped Pool A, while South Korea led Pool B after crushing Oman 11-0.

Japan beat Malaysia 3-1 and they will meet Korea in the other semi-final on Wednesday.

Though India did not break a sweat against lowly Singapore, their poor penalty-corner conversion rate remains a worry for coach A K Bansal. They got as many as 13 penalty-corners but could convert only three.

After two penalty-corners went abegging and Singapore's goalkeeper Maheshwaran Thanagopal came up with some stunning saves, India finally opened the account through Roshan Minz's 25th minute goal, and in the next minute it was Sunil's turn to get on the scorer's sheet.

Diwakar finally managed to convert India's fourth penalty-corner, having wasted the previous one in the 28th minute. He went on to fluff another in the second half as well.

Gurwinder Singh Chandi sounded the board to make it 4-0 for the hosts before Diwakar converted two penalty-corners in three minutes to complete the humiliation for the visitors.

Though happy to have stormed into the semi-finals in style, coach Bansal admitted the forward line could have played better.

Earlier, Bangladesh scored through Ashaduzzaman Chandan (2nd) and

Iqbal Nadir (24th) before Pakistan raised their game in the second half and scored seven goals.

For the winners, Shafqat Rasool, Abdul Haseem Khan and Muhammad Zubair scored two goals each while Kashif Ali and Inayat Ullah chipped in with one apiece.

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