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Late fight keeps Asia ahead of Europe; Lahiri, SSP lose again

Kuala Lumpur, Jan 13 (PTI) Team Asia produced another inspired performance to maintain a one-point advantage over Team Europe after the second day of the EurAsia Cup golf tournament here today.

Asia battled successfully in the latter half today to win three matches in a row and keep their nose ahead at 6 to 5 at the end of foursomes matches.

It is the first time Asia heads into tomorrow's singles with a lead, which while being slender is a massive mental boost for them.

Asia won three and halved one match on first day, and the two teams won three each on second.

The teams now face off each other in 12 singles, with local Nicholas Fung going out first against Alex Noren and Asia's clutch putting star, Li Haotong takes on Irishman rookie Paul Dunne in the closing match.

An ecstatic Arjun Atwal, Asia's captain said, "I have said from the beginning that this team is capable of winning and I have believed in them. They have shown that they have big hearts and a great game. They are all champions and they know how to do it.

"I have sermonised them, I have just been speaking to them and making them believe in themselves and to have fun and give their best. The young lads have been fantastic. One more day to go from here and it is very close."

India's SSP Chawrasia and Anirban Lahiri, who have had a disappointing first two days, losing both their matches, will meet Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrell Hatton respectively in the third and ninth matches.

Europe had a great start and at one stage it was a sea of blue. Then they won the first three matches with enough to spare to move to 5 to 3 and three matches were still in progress.

The Asians who kept their pairing the same as Day one had the same heroes again. The only exception was the pair of Sunghoon Kang and Poom Saksansin, who felled Henrik Stenson and Alex Levy. They were beaten 3&2 by Mathew Fitzpatrick and Thomas Pieters.

Home lads, Gavin Green (with Yuta Ikeda) and Fung (partnering the irrepressible Li), besides Hideto Tanihara (partnering Phachara Khwongwatmai) ensured next three points for Asia.

India's experienced duo of Lahiri and Chawrasia paid dearly for their patchy start over the first five holes, by which time Henrik Stenson and Tommy Fleetwood were 3-up.

The Indians did find some touch midway in the match, winning the sixth and eighth, while losing the seventh. After nine Europeans were still 2-Up and they made it 3-Up on 10th.

The next six holes were well fought and halved three of them with birdies, but the Europeans nailed crucial putts and did not allow the Asians to reduce the gap and romped home 3&2 for their first point of the day

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