5 17 2008 12178 l - India beat Malaysia to reach Azlan Shah Cup final

India beat Malaysia to reach Azlan Shah Cup final

IPOH, Malaysia: A young Indian team edged Malaysia 2-1 on Saturday to qualify for the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup field hockey tournament.

India, with 12 points from four wins and two defeats, is ranked second in the seven-nation standing. The junior team will meet Argentina in Sunday's final.

Argentina had thrashed India 5-1 in the preliminary rounds of the tournament. In Saturday's game, they drew 2-2 with Canada but still topped the charts with 14 points from four earlier wins and two draws.

Hosts Malaysia finished last in the standings with four points from six matches. They will not feature in the playoff match.

Malaysia, who needed a win over India to play off for fifth place, had the chance to take the lead in the fifth minute.

Forward S. Selvaraju's hit from the left bounced off goalkeeper Adrian Dsouza's pads. However, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin failed to push the ball into the goal.

India snatched a 2-0 lead within three minutes in the first 15 minutes of the match. Defender Sandeep Singh's free hit from the right was well connected into the goal by Shivendra Singh in the 12th minute.

Three minutes later, India won a penalty stroke when defender Mohd Madzli Ikmar Mohd Noor stopped a penalty corner flick with his body.

The lanky Sandeep Singh then added to the Indian side's lead after goalkeeper S. Kumar's attempts to save the ball went the wrong way. It was his eighth goal in six matches.

Malaysian forward Ismail Abu had a chance to score in the 20th minute with just goalkeeper Dsouza to beat, but he failed.

Malaysia, who went all out to score, later earned a penalty corner with six seconds remaining on the clock. Defender Mohd Amin Rahim scored off a low flick.

Meanwhile, Argentina took a 2-0 lead with field goals by Facundo Callioni in the 47th minute and Martin Ezequiel Sosa in the 59th minute.

Canada fought back in the last nine minutes of the match to equalise.

Sukhwinder Singh scored off a penalty corner set piece in the 61st minute, and with one minute before time was up, Ravi Kahlon equalised from close range.

In the last game of the night, New Zealand defeated Belgium 3-1 to finish fourth and will face Pakistan in the playoff for the third placing.

Simon Child scored a brace in the 18th and 38th minutes for the Kiwis while Hayden Shaw scored the other goal in the seventh minute.

John-john Dohmen scored Belgium's consolation goal in the 63rd minute.

The last day of the tournament on Sunday will begin with the Belgium playing against Canada for the fifth placing.