Sandeep’s efforts sink Japan
Sandeep Singh fired in two penalty corner goals as India defeated Japan 3-2 to notch up their fourth consecutive win and finish at the top of Group B in the hockey competitions of the Asian Games here on today.india Updated: Nov 21, 2010 22:49 IST
India set up a semifinal meeting with Malaysia after topping their preliminary group with an all-win record after overcoming Japan 3-2 in a close encounter.
Japan startled the Indian defence in the last Group B encounter to take the lead in the 21st minute on the first of Hiroki Sakamoto's two field goals.
India managed to draw level four minutes before the interval through skipper Rajpal Singh's flash strike, but Sandeep Singh's penalty corner conversion gave them the lead three minutes inside the second session.
Sandeep against shot on target in the 62nd minute to increase India's lead, only to see Japan reduce the margin with a brisk field goal in the very next minute through Sakamoto, but they failed to breach the Indian defence again.
Pakistan's 6-1 victory over Bangladesh secured them the second semifinal spot from Group B and will meet defending champions South Korea in the semifinals on November 23.
Malaysia knocked out Doha Asian Games silver-medallists China from the semifinals by defeating them 4-2 to take the second spot in Group A.
Both South Korea and Malaysia finished on 10 points from three victories and a draw each, but the Koreans topped the group on basis of a superior goal-difference.
India, who failed to make the semifinals of the 2006 Asian Games for the first time, will be looking to repeat their winning show of the Commonwealth Games group match against Malaysia to advance to the final and then have a shot at the gold medal – which will ensure an automatic qualification for the 2012 Olympic Games.