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Pakistan crush India, meet Kiwis in final

Last updated on: December 13, 2009 10:01 IST
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Pakistan crushed archrivals India 6-3 to enter the final of the Champions Challenge hockey tournament in Salta, Argentina, on Saturday.

They will meet New Zealand, who beat Argentina 3-2 in the other semi-final, played earlier.

In a thrilling encounter, marred by frayed tempers, it was Pakistan who forged ahead when Rehan Butt beat India goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza with a deft touch in the second minute.

Two minutes later, Prabhjot Singh and Muhammad Irfan were sent off after a midfield skirmish.

India forced a penalty-corner in the eighth minute and Dhananjay Mahadik found the mark to restore parity.

The goal spurred the Indian attack and Pakistan goalkeeper Akbar India was under pressure but defended well.

Goalkeper D'Souza too brought off a brilliant save at the other end soon after off Butt, but was left helpless in the 29th minute by the dashing forward who scored with a crisp shot from the top of the circle to regain the lead for Pakistan.

Suddenly the pressure was on India and Pakistan added another goal, this time through their comeback penalty-corner ace Sohail Abbas, three minutes from the breather.

Down 1-3, India, with a mountain to climb in the second period, went on all-out attack and could have pulled a goal back soon after the restart but Rajpal Singh had the mortification of seeing his deflection going just past the far post.

But the Indians' adventurism upfront left yawning gaps in defence, which the Pakistanis did well to exploit and make it 4-1 in the 58th minute when Haseem Khan found the mark with a neat piece of opportunism

The last ten minutes provided high action from end-to-end, resulting in four goals in eight minutes.

Mahadik got his second goal from a penalty-corner in the 62nd minute only to see Butt complete his hat-trick with another field goal two minutes later.

Diwarkar Ram scored from a penalty-corner three minutes from time to make the scoreline 3-5, but the Pakistanis finished in a blaze of glory when Abbas got his second goal -- this time from a penalty-stroke after his flick from a penalty-corner was stopped illegally -– in the final seconds of the match.

In the day's other matches, New Zealand beat Argentina 3-2, South Africa got the better of Belgium 4-3 with a last-second goal, and China scored over Canada 3-1.

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