Two late goals by debutant Bharat Chikara and Tushar Khandkar powered India to a 2-0 win against Argentina and into the semifinals of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup eight-nation hockey tournament here on Wednesday. In the semifinals, India will meet Malaysia while Australia will take on Korea.
In the first half, the Indians did all the running and had more of scoring opportunities, but the Argentine defenders were equal the the task. The early minutes of the second half saw Argentina showing rare urgency, but soon the game fell into the familiar pattern, with the Indians dominating.
Twice in the first 10 minutes the Indians nearly scored. Chikara failed to deflect a Sardara free-hit and then Roshan Minz, dodging past the goalkeeper, saw his shot looping over the net off a defenders’ stick. Almost immediately, the Indians received their first penalty corner, but their specialist drag-flicker Ramachandra Raghunath was on the bench and Harpal Singh’s tentative direct hit was very ineffective.
Raghunath was soon brought on, but he left within minutes with a yellow card suspension.
India finally scored in the 67th minute when Tushar Khandkar’s square pass was neatly swept in by Chikara. Khandkar then added one more in the final minute.
Australia, Korea win
In other matches, Olympic champions Australia hammered China 7-2 while Korea beat Pakistan 4-2. Leading the way for Australia was Grant Schubert with three goals (38th, 50th, 63rd) while Russell Ford chipped in with two (17th, 46th). Rounding off their scoring were Matthew Naylor (20th) and Brent Livermore (penalty stroke, 25th). PTI
Results: India beat Argentina 2-0; Australia beat China 7-1; Korea beat Pakistan 4-2.