India in finals of Champions Challenge

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> India will take on South Africa in the final of the Champions Challenge hockey tournament on Saturday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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Kuala Lumpur:

India will take on South Africa in the final of the Champions Challenge hockey tournament here on Saturday. Spurred on by a brilliant performance by goalkeeper Jude Menezes, India kept the rampaging Argentina forwards at bay in the second half to hold onto a 2-1 lead and enter the final at the Bukit Jalail hockey stadium. Later in the day, South Africa beat hosts Malaysia 1-0 to set up a title clash with India. It was sweet revenge for the Indians, who had lost to Argentina in the World Cup qualifiers earlier this year. The Indians came back after Argentina took the lead in the 15th minute through a penalty corner conversion by Tomas Mac Cormick. Led by skipper Baljit Dhillon, India went close thrice before Jugraj Singh found the equalizer through a penalty corner in the 26th minute much to the delight of their supporters. They soon erupted with joy when, after a brilliant combined move, striker Gagan Ajit Singh put India 2-1 ahead in the 33rd minute. India tried to defend their slender lead and pulled back men in the process. Soon they were under intense pressure as Vikram Pillay went out with a yellow card. The Latin Americans threatened with repeated attacks but a brilliant Jude prevented them from scoring. India, who needed to win today's match finished on top with 10 points. South Africa too ended up with 10, but settled for second spot with an inferior goal average. (PTI)

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