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India under-18 team tests Lahore club

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The India under-18 team stretched Youngsters Club, Lahore, through the course of an entertaining match before going down 4-6 in the Lal Bahadur Shastri hockey tournament at the Shivaji Stadium here on Thursday.

Earlier, India Light Blues, which had already made sure of its entry into Saturday's final, dropped its first points, managing a 1-1 draw with the bottom-placed Telekom Malaysia. The Indian team's equaliser came in the last minute. Light Blues finished with 13 points, while the Malaysian team earned its first in four matches. The under-18 team ended with a one-win, four-loss record.

The Lahore team (six points) plays India Juniors (six points) in one of the last set of round-robin matches on Friday, while in the other India Dark Blues (nine points) meets Telekom Malaysia (one point). A draw will take Dark Blues through to the final, irrespective of the result of the other match.

Against a more experienced side, the India under-18 team put up a brave display.For his two-goal contribution to the Pakistani tally plus fine work from the inside position, Tariq Aziz earned the Man-of-the-match award, though one of the juniors might as well have deserved it better.

Penalty-corner expert Khalid Mahmood scored the first two goals, Akhtar Ali had one while skipper Mudassar Ali Khan scored the last one.

For the under-18 team, Chandi replied to Mahmood's opening minute penalty-corner goal by dribbling through and finding the mark, on his knees, Harjit Singh slammed home a penalty corner Vikramjit had a field goal in the 51st minute and Pramod found the mark with a reverse hit after a penalty corner attempt had fizzled out.

In the other match, Light Blues took things easy against the Malaysians and could have lost even had not Hari Prasad found the target with a minute left for the final hooter. For the Malaysian team, Mohammad Razie Abd Rahim scored in the 12th minute.

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