India colts beat Pakistan in ill-tempered Asia Cup semi-final

July 16th, 2008 - 9:53 pm ICT by IANS  

By Avishek Roy
Hyderabad, July 16 (IANS) Defending champions India beat Pakistan 3-1 through Diwakar Ram’s brace to storm into the final of the junior Asia Cup hockey tournament here Wednesday in an ill-tempered match that saw players of both sides exchange blows in the first half. Diwakar, who has been in brilliant form throughout the tournament, with his two second-half goals emerged the tournament’s highest scorer with eight goals. Gurwinder Singh Chandi was the other scorer and he opened India’s account in the 16th minute through a field goal at the packed Gachibowli Stadium here.

Kashif Ali scored the lone goal for three-time champions Pakistan.

In Friday’s final, India will face the winner of the second semi-final between South Korea and Japan, which will also be played Wednesday night.

The match never lacked in tempo and had enough for the crowd to cheer. Scenes of jubilation broke in the stands after the final whistle and star of the match Diwakar was lifted by his team mates amid thunderous applause from the crowd.

But the otherwise excellent match left a bad taste among the spectators when players of both the teams flung their hockey sticks at each other four minutes before the interval. The match was stopped for 10 minutes and the intervention of coaches and officials calmed the frayed tempers.

Pakistan has been a slow starter in the first half throughout the tournament but Wednesday they went into the attacking mode right from the start. They got a penalty corner in the very first minute of the game but squandered it. The forward line then gave a troubled time to Indian custodian Sreejesh P.R but failed to convert any shot.

The Indian forward line too increased its tempo and soon dtruck with the combination of Roshan Minz and Chandi.

Dodging past the defenders, Minz gave a fine pass to Chandi, who intercepted the ball in the circle and then let loose a stunning reverse hit that went past Pakistani goalkeeper in a flash.

Both teams then displayed fast paced hockey, the best in the tournament so far, and launched one attack after another. Just four minutes before the first half, an ugly spat between Indian forward S.V. Sunil and Pakistan’s defender Kashif turned nasty as players joined in and raised their sticks to hit one another.

The umpires — Grochal Marcin of Poland and Al-Wahibi Thani Saheem of Oman - looked helpless and the managers and match officials had to run into the ground to separate them. The captains were shown green cards and one Pakistani player Mohammed Irfan who was injured, was sent out. India captain Gurbaz Singh also suffered injuries.

India came back strongly in the second half and struck twice through Diwakar. He converted India’s second penalty corner in the 38th minute to put the hosts 2-0 up. Pakistan pulled one back through their drag-flicker Kashif after four minutes.

But Diwakar once again proved Pakistan’s menace as he struck again in the 47th minute in the team’s third penalty corner.

Pakistan tried their best to come back into the game but Indian defenders were up for the challenge. The hosts also kept the Pakistan’s defence in tight spot and created chances but failed to score.

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