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India rally to beat Malaysia
- Olympic Qualifiers - Pakistan ward off stiff Belgian challenge to win 2-0

Madrid: India wiped out a two-goal deficit and registered an emphatic 5-3 win against Malaysia in a pool B match of the Olympic qualifiers Thursday.

India, desperate to bag full points after an unconvincing 1-1 draw against Belgium Tuesday, got off to a shocking start — conceding two goals in a span of three minutes — before bouncing back in style for their first win of the tournament.

Deepak Thakur (16th), Gagan Ajit Singh (27th and 46th), Dilip Tirkey (29th) and Baljit Singh Dhillon (65th) did the trick for India after Boon Huat Chua (10th) and Kuhan Shanmuganathan (13th) gave Malaysia 2-0 lead early in the game.

M. A. Rahim converted a penalty stroke in the 62nd minute to revive hopes of a Malaysian comeback but they paid dearly for missing 10 penalty corners.

Malaysia were on the look out for the right moment to strike and they got it in the 10th minute when the side earned the first penalty corner.

Malaysia went into the lead against the run of play when Chua deflected in captain Kuham Shanmuganathan’s hit from the penalty corner.

Three minutes later, the Indians suffered another jolt when Shanmuganathan hit the board from the second penalty corner.

A 16th minute field goal by Deepak Thakur, who scored after getting a pass from Gagan Ajit Singh, opened the floodgates. India were lucky to score the second goal when a long cross from Dilip Tirkey from the middle was not trapped properly by a Malaysian defender and the ball went to Gagan Ajit Singh, who slammed it home with a reverse flick.

India made it 3-2 in the 29th minute when Dilip Tirkey’s powerful shot hardly gave any time to the goalkeeper.

India now have four points from two games, while Malaysia stay on zero.

India stuck to their attacking ways in the second half and Gagan drove home a Thakur pass to make it 4-2 before the Malaysians received a penalty stroke. Rahim came good with the stroke to narrow the leeway. However, five minutes from close, Baljit Dhillon came up with a long run and passed to Gagan. His shot deflected off the goalkeeper’s body to Dhillon, who found the net.

Meanwhile, the individual brilliance of the Pakistan boys proved too much for Belgium as the Asian giants won 2-0 in another pool B match Thursda,. Kashif Jawad and Mohammed Saqlain scoring. Pakistan have six points while Belgium remain on one from two.

On Wednesday, Japan drew 4-4 with Poland in a pool A match while South Africa went down 1-2 to Spain (as reported in Thursday’s Late City edition). In a third match, Holland defeated Great Britain 3-0.

Anand to watch Indo-Pak game

Viswanathan Anand will be among the spectators for the key India-Pakistan match on Saturday.

Anand has been training for a series of chess tournaments including March 19 Melody Amber tournament in Spain. (PTI)

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