India beat China 3-1 but miss out on final berth

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> India recorded a thumping 3-1 victory over China but were pipped by Korea for a berth in the final of four nation hockey tournament.

Updated: May 03, 2008 10:13 IST
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India recorded a thumping 3-1 victory over China but were pipped by Korea for a berth in the final on goal difference in the Four Nation Hockey Tournament on Saturday.

India and Korea ended on four points each from one win, one draw and a loss but the east Asians made it to the final against league toppers Australia as they finished with a goal
difference of plus two as against minus one for India.

India will play China, who garnered one point from three matches, again on Sunday in the third place match.

China began the match with a few fast-paced attacks, which however, did not result to any goal.

The Indians slowly found their touch and surged ahead in the 15th minute through Tushar Khandekar and maintained the lead till the breather.

After the change of ends, Indians were still dominating but their forwards muffed a few chances that came their way.

China equalised in the 50th minute through Hui Hu from a penalty corner but their joy was shortlived with S V Sunil scoring a field goal in the next minute.

Gurvinder Singh Chandi took the match beyond China's reach with a penalty corner conversion in the 66th minute.

However, India's hopes of a final berth were dashed after Korea ended with a better goal difference even though they lost to Australia 2-3 in the last round-robin league match.

India coach Joaquim Carvalho rued the missed chances which he said robbed the team of a final match against the hosts, but hoped his boys will do better in the second Four Nation Tournament in Darwin from April 30 to May 4, to be played among the same four teams.

"Today, it was a case of missed chances. Our youngsters from the junior rank gelled well with the seniors and their intensity on the field was excellent.

"Going by this, I feel our performance in our match tomorrow against China for the third and fourth place match is going to be better," he said over phone.

"We have to make amends in our coming matches, including the second leg, and refrain from repeating the mistakes. Once we succeed in this, I have no doubt that we should be performing well against the highly rated teams in the world," he said.

"I don't want to blame any one individually. But it was the forward line that missed lot of chances. Actually, we should have been in the final of the first leg tomorrow had the chances been converted," Carvalho added.

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