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New Zealand set up title clash with mighty Aussies

india Updated: Oct 12, 2010 00:19 IST
Sharad Deep

After surprising former champions England in the league phase, New Zealand, on Monday, set up a title clash with two-time champions Australia in women's hockey.

With South Africa doing wonders this time around, no one had expected the Kiwis to cross the semifinal hurdle. But Clarissa Bshuis's penalty-corner conversion in the second half left mighty Proteas shell-shocked.

SA enjoyed an upper hand, but never found things easy near the rivals' citadel. Same was the story with New Zealanders, too, especially in the first half. But after the change of ends, they looked a much better side.

Defending champions Australia too registered a solitary-goal win against England in the other semifinal on Monday morning.

It was captain Madonna Blyth, who led the young Hockeyroos into the final with a second half goal, keeping them in hunt for the second successive gold.
England, the World Cup bronze-medallists and the highest ranked team in the competition, were frustrated by a dogged show from the Australian defenders, led by an alert Casey Eastham.

The last Games' silver-medallist and hosts India brushed aside Canada 3-0 to finish overall fifth.

Low on morale, especially after losing a semifinal berth by a whisker, hosts India put up a brave show to outclass Canada. Ritu Rani, Thokchom Devi and Saba Anjum scored the goals.

In other playoffs, Trinidad and Tobago edged Malaysia 2-1 to finish ninth, with Stacey-Ann Siu scoring the all-important a minute from fulltime.

Now, Surinder stands for Saini after lapse

NEW DELHI: For Indian women’s hockey team, goals goof-up, which put them out of the semifinal contest, are still on. Taking a U-turn to her previous reported comments in which she had blamed manager Rupa Saini, captain Surinder Kaur on Monday defended Saini on the issue after India finished fifth.

In their last pool match against South Africa, India needed to win by four goals to qualify for the semis, but could only manage a 3-1 victory, and an adamant Surinder maintained that they had to beat their opponent by six goals, as told by manager Rupa Saini, to make it to the medal round.

“Our manager and coach were not wrong. They knew we needed to score six goals to enter the semis. Four-goal margin is absolutely wrong. I can give you proof,” Surinder said at the post-match press conference.

“Why should our manager and coach give us wrong information? she asked. “Please don't report wrong things. It puts a lot of pressure on us. Please understand our future is at stake,” an emotional Surinder added.