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Page last updated at 15:05 GMT, Sunday, 10 October 2010 16:05 UK

Commonwealth Games: India beat Pakistan to reach semis

Hosts dominate inexperienced Pakistan

India booked a semi-final against England in men's hockey after a 7-4 win over rivals Pakistan before a capacity 19,000 crowd at the Dyan Chand stadium.

As expected it was fast and furious but India were soon in control and 4-0 ahead with barely 20 minutes played.

A penalty stroke gave Pakistan hope and a close-range deflection added a second to make it 4-2 at half-time.

Pakistan started brightly after the break but two goals in quick succession gave India a decisive advantage.

After the sparse crowds for many of the events during the Games, the meeting of the old adversaries was the complete opposite, with thousands of fans unable to gain tickets.

Rival captains on hockey clash

Pakistan, who beat Scotland and Malaysia before narrowly losing 1-0 to Australia, could have progressed with a draw, but in a cauldron of noise Sandeep Singh gave India a 2-0 lead with two penalty corners inside the opening six minutes.

He was also the architect for India's third as a driven pass across goal was smartly touched in by Shivendra Singh.

And when another penalty corner attempt from Sandeep was not properly cleared, Saravanjit Singh was on hand to slide in the fourth from close range.

When Rehan Butt deflected home a cross-shot to score Pakistan's second they had genuine cause for optimism but despite their bright start to the second half, some inventive Indian play ensured it was the home side who went through to Tuesday's semi-finals.

India coach Hose Brasa, who was delighted with the vociferous backing his team received, said: "All credit to the crowd. Their support was tremendous, something I have never seen before in any match.

Harpreet Singh
Harpreet upset the form book to capture the gold medal

"But we haven't won anything yet, so it will be good if the boys do not lose sight of this fact.

"We did lose a little bit of our momentum when they scored two quick goals but we regrouped after the break. We are glad that in the end we made the Indian public happy."

The Pakistan team featured several teenagers and striker Butt admitted: "The young boys could not handle the pressure of playing a big match against India.

"They could not handle the pressure that comes from playing before a huge crowd. Also, we did not play to our potential."

Earlier on Sunday, India's Harpreet Singh overhauled compatriot and favourite for the title Vijay Kumar to win the men's 25m centrefire pistol.

Harpreet came from behind to win with 580 points, but there was drama in the second place shoot-out.

Australia's oldest athlete, Michaelangelo Giustiniano, hit the wrong target to hand silver to Kumar and bronze to Singapore's Lip Meng Poh.

Singapore's Jasmine Ser Xiang Wei won the 10m air rifle for her second gold.

Giustiniano, who is Australia's most experienced athlete at the Commonwealths at 57-years-old, accidently fired all five of his shoot-off rounds into Poh's target.

"I don't recall this ever happening. It's crazy. I'll get my head around it eventually. It's not only tough to take, but the chances of me making up for this are slim," the Australian veteran commented.

This is Sri Lanka's first boxing medal since 1950, so this is great for us. It is historic

Manju Wanniarachchi's manager Dian Gomes

There was initial confusion as Giustiniano's scoreboard was left blank but it seems some of his shots counted towards Poh's score of 49, giving the Singaporean bronze and leaving the Australian in fifth.

"I contributed to the other guy's score. The target records the first shot that hits it, so it might be his, it might be mine, but it will record the shot," Giustiniano said.

India's wrestling hero, Sushil Kumar, who handed Prince Charles the Queen's Baton during the opening ceremony, won the 66kg freestyle wrestling gold. The world champion and Olympic bronze medallist was leading 2-0, 5-0 when he pinned down South African Heinrich Barnes.

There was further delight for India in the inaugural tennis tournament when top seed Somdev Devvarman defeated Australia's Greg Jones 6-4 6-2 to win gold in the men's singles.

Sania Mirza and Rushmi Chakravarthi won bronze in the doubles, beating compatriots Nirpama Sanjeev and Poojashree Venkatesha 6-4 6-2, with Sally Peers and Anastasia Rodionova of Australia taking the gold.

Elsewhere, Akhil Kumar was unable to defend his Commonwealth Games bantamweight boxing crown, losing to Louis Julie from Mauritius in the quarter-finals.

Kumar, 29, had been one of the star draws in the Games following his win at the 2006 Games in Melbourne but lost the bout 7-5.

The win puts Julie on track to become only the island nation's second Commonwealth gold medallist since it began competing in the Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

Also in the bantamweight division, Manju Wanniarachchi guaranteed Sri Lanka its first Commonwealth Games medal in boxing for 60 years after seeing off Kenya's Nicholas Okoth.

"This is Sri Lanka's first boxing medal since 1950, so this is great for us. It is historic," stated Okoth's manager Dian Gomes.

India's Rahul Banerjee won the men's recurve archery final to complete a golden double for the hosts after 16-year-old Deepika Kumari won the women's equivalent.

A day after the Pacific island of Samoa won its first ever Commonwealth Games gold medal, Ele Opeloge secured their second by winning the +75kg super-heavyweight weightlifting title.

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see also
Hockey men bid to revive glory days
26 Jul 10 |  World Olympic Dreams
Inside the mind of hockey's sleeping giant
09 Oct 10 |  World Olympic Dreams
Millar & Armitstead secure medals
10 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Heading seals shooting gold medal
10 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
England's hockey men into semis
10 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Greene & Baptiste win track golds
10 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
India secure more shooting medals
07 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Home nations boxers on the charge
10 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
India's disabled athletes seek recognition
10 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games

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