India to face South Korea in junior Asia Cup final (Lead)

July 17th, 2008 - 12:38 am ICT by IANS  

By Avishek Roy
Hyderabad, July 16 (IANS) India will face South Korea in Friday’s final of the junior Asia Cup hockey tournament at the Gachibowli Stadium. In the semi-finals Wednesday, India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan 3-1 in an ill-tempered match while South Korea beat Japan 4-2. Diwakar Ram struck a brace for India against Pakistan in the 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 is the second 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 stadium here.

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

In the other match, South Korea beat a lacklustre Japan 4-2 in a lopsided contest. Korea’s Nam Hyun Woo scored all the four goals, three of which came through penalty corners. Hyun is now the top scorer with nine goals. For Japan, Kenji Kitazato and Ryohei Kawai were on target.

The match between India and Pakistan 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 shots.

The Indian forward line, too, increased its tempo and soon struck 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 the 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 ended, 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 the players. The captains were shown green cards and Pakistani player Mohammed Irfan, who was injured, was sent out. Indian 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 for the team’s third penalty corner.

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

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