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Rediff.com  » Sports » India on brink of semis spot after thrashing China 4-1

India on brink of semis spot after thrashing China 4-1

Last updated on: December 09, 2009 12:49 IST

An aggressive India thrashed China 4-1 in their second Group A match to inch closer to a semi-final berth in the Champions Challenge I hockey tournament in Salta, Argentina on Tuesday.

India was joined atop the group with New Zealand, who beat Belgium 4-1

After the disappointing draw against the Kiwis in their lung-opener, India were promptly on the attack against China and earned a series of penalty corners.

They missed the first one but Prabhjot Singh was well positioned to collect the rebound on the second and opened the scoring in the seventh minute.

India kept attacking the Chinese goal relentlessly and left the rival defense flummoxed with swift passes. However, Chinese 'keeper Rifeng Su stood tall and skillfully saved some dangerous shots from close range as well as a strong penalty-corner attempt by Dhananjay Mahadik.

The Chinese forwardline missed its chances to equalise on two successive penalty-corner attempts.

Play slowed down for a while after that until the Indian forward line stole a ball in midfield in the final minute of the first half.

Even before the Chinese defence could react, Rajpal Singh deflected the ball into the goal from close range to increase India's lead to 2-0 at the stroke of half-time.

The Indians found it tougher to penetrate the rival defence in the second half and China reduced the gap in the 41st minute with a penalty-stroke powerfully shot by Yi Song.

India build a two-goal cushion when Sarwanjit Singh struck through a penalty-corner in the 56th minute to finally increase India's tally.

China increased the pressure in the final minutes and had another good chance on a penalty-corner after a yellow card to Sardar Singh.

But their elaborate combination ended up wide and India sealed a 4-1 win after Shivendra Singh scored on the hooter.

India will next play Belgium in their final group match on Thursday. Top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals.

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