Danish hurdle in China�s way
Haryana pump in 14
CESC move to the top, await SAI result

Kuala Lumpur, May 17 
Holders China will take on Denmark in the final of the Uber Cup badminton championship Saturday.

Both won their semi-final matches with ease. While Denmark defeated South Korea 3-0, China, as expected, downed Indonesia 3-0 in the other semi-final later in the day, to qualify for its ninth successive Uber Cup final.

In the earlier match, Camilla Martin took only 21 minutes to dispose off South Korean Kim Jee Hyun 11-5, 11-7. Eighth ranked Mette Sorensen made it 2-0 after defeating Lee Kyung Won 11-8, 11-3 in 37 minutes Then Helen Kirkegaard and Rikke Olsen, ranked world No. 5, defeated the Korean pair of Lee Hyo Jung and Chung Jae Hee 15-5, 15-6.

China, a six-time Uber Cup winner, took just 84 minutes to overcome Indonesia, which failed to qualify for the final for the first time since 1994. Gong Zhi Chao took 18 minutes to defeat Ellen Angelina 11-2, 11-1 while world and Olympic pair of Ge Fei and Gu Jun also easily overcame the top Indonesian pair of Eliza and Deyana Lombau 15-9, 15-7.

It was then left to 21-year-old Yun Dai to give China the third victory, which came in 22 minutes over Uli Marfuah 11-6, 11-4. The Chinese hardly raised a stir apart from a few high-fives after their win.The Danes, on the other hand, were leaping and screaming with joy over their success.

�It has been a long wait and I�m glad we�ve finally made it. We were counting on the first three ties and it all fell into place for us today,� said a delighted Kenneth Larsen, the Danish team coach, at a post match conference.

The Chinese coach Li Yong Bo said: �This was not a difficult one for us and we are confident of doing similarly well in the finals against Denmark. The girls are in perfect form and nothing in my opinion can stop China from lifting the Cup once more.�

Barring Camilla Martin, none from the Danish team has defeated any from this Chinese squad. Camilla scored a victory over Gong Zhi Chao in 1997. But in their last encounter in Brunei during the world Grand Prix finals, the Chinese won 12-11, 12-10.

Tomorrow China take on South Korea in the Thomas Cup semi-finals while Demark clash with Indonesia on Friday.    

Calcutta, May 17 
Haryana walloped Rajasthan 14-0 in the eighth women�s national football championship in Diphu. According to information received here, Pooja Jone scored six goals, Renu Dhiya five and Monika three. Meghalaya edged past Tripura by a solitary goal, netted by Aiti Kurbah. Goa beat Bihar, also by the thinnest margin. Ena Gaunkar hit the bull�s eye in the 15th minute of the match.

Easy for SAIL, Port

SAIL and Port Trust notched up convincing wins in cluster ties of the McDowell Cup soccer meet. According to information received here, SAIL whipped Sonali Sibir 4-0 at Madhyamgram on goals from Amjad Ali Khan, Dipak Das, Rupak Chowdhury and M. Mollah. Port dismissed Muslim Institute 3-0 at Sodepur, riding a brace from Souren Sardar and another strike by Pradip Indu.    

Calcutta, May 17 
As Samir Tarafdar sounded the board three minutes from full time, the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) bench exploded as much in joy as in relief.

The hard-earned 1-0 win over Calcutta Port Trust not only meant CESC had finished their campaign on a winning note, it also put them atop the BHA first division group A league table. Only, the euphoria may not last more than five days.

CESC�s 20-point tally cannot be toppled, but SAI Training Centre can catch them up Monday by beating bottom-of-the-table West Bengal Police. Even a one-goal win in their final match would give SAI the crown as they enjoy a better goal-difference than CESC.

East Bengal ensured the third place with a 1-0 victory over Eastern Railway SA. The red-and-golds thus ended with 19 points. Gregory Minz got the important goal two minutes after the breather, converting a short corner.

In group B action, Police AC overcame Jagrihi by the odd goal in three.

CC&FC made it to the last four of the Lagden Shield courtesy a 3-0 triumph over Behala SA.

In the match of the day at Mohun Bagan ground CESC, in their anxiety to pick up full points, put up a nervous display in the first half. Passes went awry and the Port Trust defence had little problem keeping the CESC attackers at bay.

With minutes ticking by in the second session, tension mounted in the CESC ranks. The likes of Sunil Surin, Niril Bhengra and Lalit Singh got their act together, and chances came thick and fast.

A Lalit Singh scoop following a fine save by Port custodian J. Singh just sailed over the goal. Minutes later, a well-placed Surin delayed in taking a crack at goal and ultimately went too wide, allowing the �keeper cover the angle and block the shot.

Next, it was Tarafdar�s turn to miss. Bhengra set him up with a defence-splitting pass but Tarafdar hit straight to the advancing �keeper.

Just when it seemed that CESC would be denied full points, Tarafdar made amends in the 67th minute by flicking the ball past Singh.    


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