Asia Cup: India in for tough semi final

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> India will take on South Korea in the Asia Cup semi final later today. The Koreans are the defending champions and it is will be a tough match.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Kuala Lumpur:

Like the Champions Trophy, the Asia Cup Hockey title has also eluded India. Eight time Olympic gold medallists have been four time finalists at the tournament. However, this time the quest to reach the final could be fraught with difficulties. India's 4-2 loss against Pakistan yesterday, means they run into defending champions South Korea in the semis on Friday. India have not beaten South Korea since the 1998 Asian Games final. Missed opportunity Dhanraj Pillai's men needed to beat their archrivals to avoid playing the defending champions. However, injured player Jugraj Singh's absence was noticeable. India earned a total of four penalty corners, but didn't convert any of them. Pakistan in comparison earned just two penalty corners and converted both, Wasim Ahmed for the 3-2 lead and Suhail Abbas to make it 4-2. Indian Coach Rajinder Singh has blamed the forwards for the poor show. One of the missed opportunities came in the eight minute when Prabhjot couldn't beat the Pakistani keeper. Meanwhile, Singh is already under fire from his own federation for revealing that the team is too distracted because of the media. Unbeatable Koreans? South Korean have topped group A with a 6-0 win over Japan. The Koreans have won the last two Asia Cup editions. Pakistan won it the first three times. South Korea are also the current Asian Games champions, they beat India 4-3 in Busan. The team also bagged a silver medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. So while India need to find a way to get past Korea, Pakistan will have the much easier clash against Japan in the other semi-final.

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