India pummel Egypt 7-1, to meet South Korea in Azlan Shah final

Saturday, May 15, 2010

IPOH - Defending champions India steamrolled Egypt 7-1 to enter their third successive Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey final where they will meet South Korea Sunday.

It will be four-time champion India’s sixth appearance in the final of the tournament. India took the trophy in 1985, 1991, 1995 and last year. Their only defeat in the final was against Argentina in the 2008 edition.

The 1996 champions Korea, however, have lost in all other finals they qualified for in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2005.

Korea, who beat Pakistan 4-2 Saturday, was level along with Australia and Malaysia on 11 points but qualified for the finals on better goal difference. India finished at the top of the seven-team league with 13 points from six matches. They have beatan South Korea 3-2 in the league stage. They also defeated arch-rivals Pakistan and Australia while drew with China. Their only loss in the group stage was against Malaysia.

In a must-win match against Egypt Saturday, India came out with all guns blazing. Dhananjay Mahadik starred with a hat-trick. In a keenly fought first half, India were given the lead by a penalty corner strike from Mahadik in the 33rd minute and the teams went for the break with India leading 1-0.

The defending champions came back even stronger in the second half with Mahadik, who have been struggling with his drag-flicks, completing his hattrick by converting penalty corners in the 40th and 43rd minutes to give India a comfortable 3-0 lead.

Goals from Rajpal Singh (44th minute), Rupinder Pal Singh (48th minute) and Tushar Khandker (49th minute) within five minutes stretched India’s lead to 6-0.

Ahmad Abd El Hakim Egypt pulled one back for Egypt just two minutes before the hooter but it was too little and too late.

Sarvanjit Singh then scored his first goal of the tournament in the 70th minute.

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