Azlan Shah: India to play Great Britain for bronze
Ipoh (Malaysia): India`s slender hopes of a berth in the final were dashed with results of the last league matches not going their way but the team can still return home with a medal when they take on Great Britain in the bronze medal play-off in the Azlan Shah Cup, here tomorrow. India`s nine points from six matches gave them the fourth position, which was finalised after the last round of league matches ended today.
India will also be hoping to reverse the 2-3 loss of their league encounter to Great Britain, who finished third in the league standings with 11 points form six outings. New Zealand`s 12 points from six matches secured their first entry into the final of the Azlan Shah Cup, where they will meet Argentina, who also finished on 12 points in six games after today`s 1-0 victory over hosts Malaysia.
New Zealand finished on top since they had a superior goal difference. After being assured of a spot in the final, New Zealand showed no urgency in their last match against South Korea, who clinched a 1-0 victory through a penalty corner conversion by Jang Jong-Hyun two minutes from the hooter. Argentina needed to win the last match against Malaysia since Great Britain had overtaken them by claiming full three points in their 2-1 win over last year`s finalists Pakistan.
Argentina faced some anxious moments as Malaysia played an attacking game, but Pedro Ibarra`s penalty corner conversion in the 40th minute secured their passage into the final. Argentina had won the Azlan Shah Cup in 2008 by defeating India in the final. Great Britain trailed by a goal at half-time, but scored twice in the second session to secure a 2-1 win over Pakistan. That, however, failed to list them into the final as Argentina stayed on course with a fourth successive victory.
Pakistan opened the account against great Britain on a field goal by Haseen Khan in the 15th minute, only for Barry Middleton (47th minute) and Ashley Jackson (66th minute) to score for Great Britain in the second half. Pakistan finished at the bottom of the seven-nation table with just three points from six matches. Pakistan had got the silver medal last year when they lost the final to Australia through a golden goal. Starting with a win over Argentina, three-time champions Pakistan then lost five successive matches. This is the first time that Pakistan have finished at the bottom of the table in the Azlan Shah Cup.