Hosts storm into U-18 hockey final

Staff Correspondent
ashraful islam

Ashraful Islam

Hosts Bangladesh set up a final date against India with a thumping 6-1 win over Chinese Taipei in the first semi-final of the Under-18 Asia Cup Hockey tournament at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium on Thursday.
India outplayed arch-rivals Pakistan 3-1 in the second semi-final of the day at the same venue.
It was expected a cake walk for the hosts against a side whom they crushed 8-1 in a warm-up match just before the start of the tournament.
Bangladesh go into today’s final with a slight physiological advantage over their Indian counterparts as the hosts began their campaign with a 5-4 win against the Asian giants.
Penalty-corner specialist Ashraful Islam was again the hero for the hosts by scoring three goals while Raju Ahmed, Sajib Hossain and Fazle Hossain Rabbi netted one goal apiece.
Bangladesh, who came into the semi-final with the back of two brilliant performances against mighty India and Oman (11-0), looked below par in Thursday’s match.
Despite taking a third minute lead through a penalty corner goal from Ashraful, Bangladesh failed to establish their full control on the match.
Raju Ahmed doubled the margin for the hosts in the 28th minute from a reverse hit. Tzu Yu Huang reduced the margin for Taipei in the 41st minute by flicking the ball home.
Ashraful bagged his second and the team’s third for the hosts in the 48th minute from a penalty stroke.
He further increased Bangladesh’s lead with his third goal and team’s fourth in the 52nd minute from his favourite penalty corner.
Sajib Hossain scored the fifth goal for Bangladesh in the 60th minute from another penalty corner before Fazle Hossain Rabby completed the rout in the 65th minute with a field goal.
There was a high anticipation for the match between Pakistan and India but the latter made it a one-way traffic after taking a 3-0 lead at one stage.
Shivam Anand put India ahead in the seventh minute by a field goal. Dilpreet Singh doubled the margin in the 33rd minute from a penalty corner.
Sandeep Nilam took the game beyond Pakistan’s reach by scoring the third goal the 46th minute from penalty corner.
Amjad Ali Khan scored the lone goal for Pakistan in the 62nd from a penalty corner.

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