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India rout Pakistan, win Jr. Asia Cup hockey

Last updated on: April 29, 2004 20:31 IST
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World champions India added another feather to their cap when won the junior Asia Cup hockey title for the first time after beating Pakistan 5-2 in the final on Thursday.

A fine hat-trick by fleet-footed forward Tushar Khandekar was the highlight of India's big victory.

Penalty-corner ace Sandeep Singh accounted for the other two goals to take his goal tally in the tournament to 16 and emerge the top scorer.

For Pakistan, who trailed 0-2 at the breather, Tariq Aziz and Imran Warsi (penalty-corner) raised visions of a fightback after being 0-4 down with two quick goals, but a solid display by Adrian D'Souza, who was later voted best goalkeeper of the tournament, denied them further success.

In an earlier match, defending champions South Korea beat Malaysia 2-1 to finish third and join India and Pakistan in next year's Junior World Cup in Amstelveen, The Netherlands.

After taking time to settle down, India forged ahead through Khandekar in the 22nd minute before Sandeep Singh increased the lead nine minutes later with a neat drag flick from a brilliantly executed penalty-corner drill.

Khandekar then found the mark again in the 38th and 44th minutes.

But complacency crept into the Indians' display and Pakistan fought back with two quick goals through Tariq Aziz (45th minute) and penalty-corner ace Imran Warsi (47th). They had a couple of gilt-edged chances to equalise but goalkeeper D'Souza proved hard to beat.

Sandeep Singh's second goal of the match with another well-taken drag flick in the 61st minute put the issue beyond doubt.

PTI adds: A glaring error on the part of a Pakistani defender, who failed to clear a Vivek Gupta shot from outside the 'D', helped India take the lead as Khandekar tapped the ball to the left of the hapless Pakistan goalkeeper.

The goal came just a minute after Virendra Lakra's shot was stopped on the line by the custodian.

Pakistan also made some attempts on the Indian goal but were denied by an alert defence and goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza. They hosts also frittered away two chances from penalty-corners with prolific scorer Imran Warsi failing.

India, on the other hand, capitalised from the lone penalty-corner they received in the first half, with Sandeep Singh beating the Pakistan goalie comprehensively with his drag flick.

India, who went to the half-time with a 2-0 lead, soon made it 3-0 with Khandekar's goal.

In the 38th minute the winger converted a V S Vinay's brilliant pass into the goal while Singh's rasping drive was deflected inside the cage by a defender in the 44th minute.

Pakistan hit back with two quick goals in a great style and came close to restoring parity.

Aziz scored from the right in the 45th minute and then two minutes later Warsi made it 4-2 with a carpet drive.

Deflections from captain Shakeel Abbasi and Aziz went over the post and winger Akhtar Ali also missed an easy chance to add to home team's woes.

India, who won the junior World Cup in Hobart, Australia in 2001, sealed the fate of the match with Sandeep Singh's second goal.

The jubilant Indian side was given a standing ovation by Pakistan fans as they received gold medals and the trophy from Asian Hockey Federation president Sultan Azlan Shah of Malaysia.

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