Sandeep brilliance helps India pip Canada 3-2

New Delhi: India rode on Sandeep Singh`s brilliance to virtually seal its place in the final of the men`s hockey Olympic Qualification tournament after defeating Canada 3-2 in a hard-fought round-robin match, here on Wednesday.

Sandeep (40th minute, 61st) converted two penalty corners to not only see India through in the pulsating encounter, but also increase his goal-tally to nine in the tournament.

Shivendra Singh (26th) scored the other goal for India, while Mark Pearson (50th) and Scot Tupper (53rd) found the target for Canada.

With four wins out of four matches, India are more or less are through to the summit clash of the tournament unless some surprising results in the last round of games hurt their cause.

A draw in the final match against Poland on Friday would be enough for the hosts to secure their place in the title clash.

Despite two wins and two defeats from four matches, the 14th ranked Canadians are still in the fray for place in the final. They will now have to beat France in their last match and hope India beat Poland.

With nine points apiece, Poland and France are also in with a chance as the men`s pool is still open going into the last round of games.

India were lackluster in the beginning and lost the ball frequently in the mid-field.

Even though India had the bulk of possession in the first half, they lacked finishing inside the D. Initially, the Indians were also undone by a resolute and agile Candian defensive line.