Ipoh, Malaysia, May 15: Drag flickers Sandeep Singh and Diwakar Ram struck a goal each as a charged up India edged past arch-rivals Pakistan 2-1 to stay in contention for a place in the final of the 17th Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament here today.
This was India's third consecutive win in the tournament.They now have nine points from the five matches they have played so far. India will have to beat hosts Malaysia in their last league game tommorrow to qualify for the final. Argentina, who have 13 points from five encounters, have already booked a place in the summit clash.India started in an aggressive fashion with forwards SV Sunil and Shivendra Singh creating several chances. Their efforts bore fruit in the sixth minute when they managed to force a penalty corner.
Sandeep Singh smashed a powerful dragflick as India grabbed the lead.The 19-year-old defender Diwakar Ram (20th) doubled the lead, as he converted India's third penalty corner. Pakistan displayed a lot of urgency in their second half as they tried to gain the upper hand.They scored their only goal of the match when Mohammad Saqlain (58th min) tapped in a field goal to reduce the margin. Pakistan upped the ante in the last 10 minutes as they went all out in search of the equaliser, putting the Indians on the backfoot. They came close on several occasions, but the Indian defence held firm to deny them any chance.