India beat Pakistan to enter Azlan Shah hockey final

April 11th, 2009 - 9:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Ipoh (Malaysia), April 11 (IANS) Skipper Sandeep Singh scored a brace to lead India into the final of the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament with a 2-1 win over arch-rivals Pakistan here Saturday.
India, who finished runners-up in the previous edition, will face hosts Malaysia in the summit clash Sunday.

Sandeep, who has been in fine form throughout the tournament, first scored in the 29th minute. Abbas Haider levelled for the Pakistan in the 50th minute before Sandeep struck again in the 61st minute to edge past Pakistan in their must-win last league match.

India finished with eight points. They beat hosts Malaysia and drew with Egypt and New Zealand in earlier matches.

Malaysia, who needed a draw against New Zealand to secure a final berth, were held 1-1 by the Kiwis in the last round robin match

India got the lead through Sandeep’s penalty stroke to go into the breather 1-0.

Pakistan stepped up the tempo in the second half and Haider equalised in the 50th minute in a goalmouth melee.

Sandeep then slammed home the winner in the 61st minute.

India’s coach Harendra Singh said the team has bounced back after being held by minnows Egypt in the first match.

“They have shown the fighting spirit. The team is looking forward to win the final,” he said.

India will have a psychological edge in the final, having blanked Malaysia 3-0 in the league stage.

India had lost 1-2 to Argentina in last year’s final.

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