Malaysia coach Sarjit Singh admitted his team was lucky to get past India in the semi-finals of the 16th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Ipoh, Malaysia, on Friday.
"In the second-half, I thought the Indians played very well and we were lucky to survive. We were anxious not to concede penalty-corners because of Raghunath (India's drag-flick specialist). I am happy that we succeeded in this area," Sarjit said.
"Our strategy was to score first and put India under pressure. We did just that, but they equalized; but our second goal did the trick for us," the coach said after his team's 2-1 victory that avenged their 4-1 defeat at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.
Sarjit said the partisan crowd support lifted his team's morale.
"Of course, the crowd made a huge difference and our players felt encouraged by the support from the stands."
The coach said his team's performance exceeded pre-tournament expectations.
"We were hoping to make it to at least the semi-finals, but I had told the boys that if we make it to the semis, then the final was very much on. I am extremely happy that my players performed so well in this tournament," Sarjit said.
Meanwhile, his Indian counterpart Joaquim Carvalho skipped the post-match media briefing and was not immediately available for comment.
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