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India beat SA 4-2 to enter Champions Challenge final

Star drag flicker scores brace as India beat hosts South Africa to enter Champions Challenge final

Star drag-flicker Sandeep Singh was the hero once again  as India beat a spirited South Africa 4-2 to enter the final of the FIH Champions Challenge tournament here yesterday. They play Belgium in the summit clash on Sunday.



In a rather fast-paced encounter, Sandeep's lethal penalty corner drag-flicks in the 44th and 49th minute respectively proved to be the difference in the end as the visitors beat the hosts   for a second time in just about a week. India had previously beaten the Proteas 7-4 in the preliminary stage of the
tournament.

On Saturday, however it was the hosts, who took the lead through Marvin Harper (8th min) only to see India's V Raghunath restore parity through a penalty corner drag-flick in the 13th minute.

The South Africans went ahead once again, this time through, Thronton McDade (22nd min). India however levelled things five minutes into the second session through a Sarvanjit Singh (40th minute) reverse hit.

In the day's other semi-final, Belgium beat Argentina 3-2 via a penalty shootout after scores were level at 2-2 in regulation period and extra-time. India and Belgium played out a 2-2 draw in a keenly contested encounter the preliminary stages of the tournament.

Meanwhile, the good news from the India camp is that young drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh, who suffered an injury that saw him being carried off the field on a stretcher in the quarter-final against Malaysia, has recovered.  He even played against the South Africans, which means he will also be available for the final, thus giving coach Michael Nobbs more options in the penalty corner department.

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