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India storm into Azlan Shah final

Ipoh (Malaysia): Drag-flicker Dhananjay
Mahadik scored a hat-trick as defending champions India
crushed Egypt 7-1 to enter the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah
Cup hockey tournament here on Saturday.

Mahadik (34th, 40th, 42nd minute), skipper Rajpal Singh
(44th), Rupinder Pal Singh (48th), Tushar Khandekar (49th),
Sarvanjit Singh (70th) scored for India in what was a must-win
match, while Abd El Hakim Ahmed (68th) was the lone Egyptian
goal-getter.

India will take on Korea in the summit clash tomorrow.

India had earlier made six appearances in the final of
the tournament and ended on the victorious side on four
occasions in 1985, 1991, 1995 and 2009. They had lost to
Argentina in the 2008 title clash by a golden goal.

Contrary to the result, India were made to struggle in
the first half by the Egyptians and were denied the lead till
the 34th minute when Mahadik flicked from their sixth penalty
corner.

Though the Indian forwards attacked relentlessly from the
start, initially they found the Egyptian defence like a wall,
especially goalkeeper Mabrouk Mohamed.

Indian forwardline comprising Shivendra Singh, Rajpal,
Mandeep Antil and Tushar were ably supported up by Gurbaj
Singh, Arjun Halappa, Vikas Pillay and Ravi Pal Singh in the
midfield but Mahadik`s goal was what they could manage in the
first half.

However, Mahadik`s goal seemed to have opened floodgates
for the Indians, who went on the rampage after the change of
end.

Mahadik struck again with ease in the 40th and 42nd
minutes after Halappa and Shivendra won India short corners.

Skipper Rajpal joined the party in the 44th minute,
scoring from a Bharat Chikara pass.

Young Faridkot drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh then
scored his first goal for the senior team when he beat
Mabrouk to his left in the 48th minute from India`s tenth
penalty corner.

The goal was followed by Khandker finding the mark in the
next minute after combining with Rajpal.

Egypt, however, pulled one back against the run of the
mill in the 68th minute through Abd El Hakim Ahmed.

But Sarvanjit Singh completed India`s tally just seconds
from the hooter when he pushed home after the Egyptian
custodian was caught on the wrong foot. Earlier in the day, world champion Australia recorded a
comfortable 4-0 win over China in another round-robin match
but it was enough to book their place in the title clash.

Kieran Govers (3rd and 21st) struck twice while
Christopher Ciriello (50th) and Grant Schubert (51st) scored a
goal each for the Kookaburras.

In another must-win mouth-watering encounter where
either team needed by two goal margin victory, Korea defeated
Pakistan 4-2 to qualify for the final.

However, the match was marred by ugly incidents which
saw a red card for Pakistan captain Mohd Imran. In addition
four yellow cards were shown to players from both the teams.

Pakistan took the lead in the 32nd min off a set piece
scored by Mohd Zubair, but Korea equalised six minutes later
through Lee Nam Yong.

The Koreans went ahead when Lee Nam Yong converted a
penalty stroke in the 46th min but Pakistan restored parity
with Mohd Imran`s penalty corner in the 57th minute.

Korea was awarded their second penalty stroke in the
66th min when Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Shah obstructed Kim
Yong Jin. The Pakistanis protested against the decision and
held up play for 10 minutes, which resulted in the red card
for their skipper.

After the resumption, Korea went 3-2 up with Nam Hyun Woo
finding the target and then ensured their place in the final
when they struck again two minutes later through Nam Hyun Woo.

Australia will now play hosts Malaysia for the third
position while Pakistan will face China for the fifth-sixth
place playoff.

PTI

From Zee News

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