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Rivals make a summit showdown

india Updated: Sep 10, 2011 01:28 IST
Highlight Story

India will face archrivals Pakistan in the final of the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy after the two teams drew 2-2 in their last group encounter here on Friday.

India, the only unbeaten team in the tournament, staged a remarkable fightback to hold the Asian Games champions in an absorbing affair.

Striker Mohd Waqas and Mohd Irfan scored for Pakistan in the 40th and 43rd minutes while Rupinder Pal Singh reduced the margin from an indirect penalty corner in the 46th minute before Danish Mujtaba found the equaliser in the 53rd minute.

India dominated the first half but conceded two goals after the break. However, they fought back gallantly with forwards Gurvinder Chandi, skipper Rajpal Singh, SV Sunil and the diminutive Yuvraj Walmiki getting four penalty corners, which were alternately executed by Rupinder Pal Singh and Raghunath.

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Mujtaba drew parity when he picked up a full-blooded shot from defender Manjit Kullu in the Pakistan striking circle and deflected home with his back to the goal.

The goal was disallowed initially by the umpire from New Zealand but he awarded it in India's favour after consulting with the other umpire from South Korea.

Pakistan were through to the final on Sunday with the draw but India had to wait for the outcome of the remaining two matches to know their fate.

Fight to finish
South Korea made their exit when they were held 1-1 by bottom-placed China, while India heaved a huge sigh of relief when Malaysia came back from a two-goal deficit to pip Japan 3-2.

Korea will play China for the fifth and sixth positions on Sunday while Malaysia will clash with Japan for the bronze medal, to be followed by the India-Pakistan grand finale.

Goalless at the break, five minutes after resumption, Waseem Ahmed intercepted an Indian move and won an infringement just outside the Indian striking circle.

His cross into the circle went straight to an unmarked Waqas. The striker had enough time to send in a first-timer that beat Indian goalkeeper Bharat Chhetri.

It was India's first defensive lapse and they paid heavily for it. Two minutes later, Shakeel Abassi and the other forwards moved in and won Pakistan's first penalty corner. Irfan sent a flyer into the right corner of the net to notch up the second goal.

Poonam to lead girls team in Asia Cup
New Delhi: Poonam Rani was today named captain of the 18-member Indian squad for the third Girls Under-18 hockey Asia Cup, to be held in Bangkok, Thailand from September 16-25.

India have been placed in Pool B alongwith China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan.

Pool A comprises Korea, Japan, Thailand, Singapore and Chinese Taipei.