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India thrash Kazakhstan, in women’s Asia Cup hockey semis

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womens Asia Cup hockey

Kakamigahara (Japan), Nov 2 : India stormed into the women’s Asia Cup semi-final here on Thursday, thrashing Kazakhstan 7-1 in the quarters at the Kakamigahara Kawasaki Stadium.

Dragflicker Gurjit Kaur was in sublime form as she pumped three goals while Navneet Kaur scored twice and Deep Grace converted two penalty corners to ensure India remained unbeaten in the tournament.

After an early setback when Vera Domashneva scored a field goal in the second minute of the match to give Kazakhstan 1-0 lead, India made amends when a tactical manoeuvre in the circle won them a penalty corner in the fourth minute.

In-form dragflicker Gurjit Kaur hardly broke a sweat to fiercely strike the ball past Kazakhstan goalkeeper Guzal Bakhavaddin to equalise.

India were off to a steady start, patiently negotiating their way into the 25-yard mark not making hasty forays but waiting for the right opportunity.

The Ritu Rani-led forward line was smart in their attacks. The Indians won penalty corners to put their opponents under pressure.

The plan worked as a penalty corner won in the 16th minute was brilliantly converted through Deep Grace’s well-struck dragflick to give India a 2-1 lead.

The following minutes saw Navneet Kaur score back-to-back field goals in the 22nd and 27th minutes to take India’s lead to a comfortable 4-1 at the end of second quarter.

The 10-minute halftime break saw the team come back stronger on the pitch. They began the third quarter by winning a penalty corner but this time it was well saved by the Kazakhstan goalkeeper.

However, another penalty corner awarded in the 41st minute was beautifully converted by Deep Grace (5-1). Gurjit was splendid in her dragflick to convert her second goal through a penalty corner in the next minute to ensure India were on the right path to win.

The 22-year-old Gurjit struck yet through another penalty corner in the 56th minute to register her hat-trick and help India triumph 7-1.

IANS

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FIFA WC 2018: Brazil edge past brave Costa Rica with last gasp goals

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Sochi, June 23: Philippe Coutinho and Neymar Junior scored late in the second half as Brazil ensured their passage to the second round with a hard-earned 2-0 win over Costa Rica in a Group E clash of the FIFA World Cup here on Friday.

Both Brazilians struck in the second half added time at the Saint Petersburg Stadium to hand the five-time World Cup winners their first victory in the tournament.

Costa Rica managed to hold fast for the full 90 minutes of normal play thanks to a solid display from goalkeeper Keylor Navas but one minute into stoppage time, Barça’s Coutinho rescued Brazil, driving through the defense to attack a loose ball in the penalty area, smashing it home between the legs of the Real Madrid man between the posts.

Then, in the dying embers of stoppage time, of which there were six minutes, Neymar, who was yet to score at the FIFA World Cup in Russia, connected to a simple cross to tap home and seal the game.

At the final whistle, the most expensive player in the world broke into tears of relief in the center of the pitch.

Brazil, one of this year’s favourites to win the trophy, all but secured its place in the knockout stages of the competition, recovering from a 1-1 draw in its opening match against Switzerland, who in turn is to meet with Serbia in the evening kick-off.

Costa Rica put on a tough display in the first half knowing that a loss would essentially resign them to booking an early ticket home, but the players tired towards the end of the 90 minutes and succumbed to the relentless attacking tactics of the Brazilians.

Brazil, who now top the table with 4 points, is set to play Serbia on Jun 27 in its final Group E match.

IANS

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Ahmed Musa double downs Iceland to keep Nigeria’s World Cup dreams alive

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Volgograd (Russia), June 23: Two brilliant strikes by Ahmed Musa propelled Nigeria to a 2-0 win over Iceland in a Group D match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup here on Friday.

Musa (49th, 75th minutes) scored both his goals in the second half as Nigeria revived their chances of advancing to the second round.

The Africans, who had lost 0-2 to Croatia in their campaign opener, now have three points from two matches.

They now face a must win clash against Argentina in their third and last group encounter.

Iceland have two points from as many matches. They had held mighty Argentina 1-1 in their first match.

The result also helps the chances for Lionel Messi’s Argentina to advance, as they can move from bottom of the table into second with a win over Nigeria, so long as Iceland do not beat Croatia by an equal or larger margin.

In the first half of the game, chances were few and far between. While Nigeria dominated possession, Iceland got the better chances to take the lead.

The best of them all was a Gylfi Sigurdsson effort which was tipped over the bar by Nigeria goalkeeper Francis Uzoho.

Nigeria nosed ahead four minutes into the second period when Victor Moses sprinted down the right wing and crossed towards Musa. The Nigerian controlled beautifully, before slamming home to give his side the lead.

Musa could have grabbed a hattrick had his attempt from 20 yards not come off the crossbar.

Musa then sped past Iceland right-back Kari Arnason on the wing to round goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson and score his second of the evening.

Iceland were handed a lifeline when Tyronne Ebuehi was late on a challenge on Alfred Finnbogason, and the referee gave a penalty — though only after reviewing the play on video.

But Sigurdsson sent his shot high over the bar and into the stands after a short run-up and Nigeria held on to take the three points.

IANS

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World Cup: Switzerland beat Serbia 2-1 in Group E tie

Switzerland equalised in the second half, thanks to a superb long range strike by Granit Xhaka (52nd).

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Switzerland vs Serbia

Kaliningrad (Russia), June 23 (IANS) A late goal by Xherdan Shaqiri earned Switzerland 2-1 win over Serbia in a Group E clash of the FIFA World Cup at the Kaliningrad Stadium here.

Aleksandar Mitrovic handed Serbia the lead in the fifth minute during the match on Friday.

Switzerland equalised in the second half, thanks to a superb long range strike by Granit Xhaka (52nd).

Shaqiri (90th) found the winning goal in the final minute of regulation time.

Switzerland now have four points from two matches.

Serbia have three points from two games.

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