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Rediff.com  » Sports » Malaysia knock defending champions India out of Asian Games

Malaysia knock defending champions India out of Asian Games

Last updated on: August 30, 2018 21:09 IST

Semi-final defeat denies India direct entry to the 2020 Olympics.

India's Vivek Prasad (left) and a Malaysian player in action during the men's hockey semi-final match at the 18th Asian Games 2018, in Jakarta, Indonesia on Thursday

IMAGE: India's Vivek Prasad, left, battles for possession with a Malaysian player during the men's hockey semi-final at the Asian Games, in Jakarta, on Thursday. Photograph: Vijay Verma/PTI Photos

Defending champions India were knocked out of Asian Games gold medal contention in men’s hockey and denied a direct entry to the 2020 Olympics as Malaysia again proved to be their stumbling block.

The Malaysians handed India a heartbreaking 6-7 defeat in the semi-finals, on Thursday, in sudden death after an exhausting shoot-off.

 

India will play eight-time champions Pakistan in the bronze medal play-off.

Pakistan lost 0-1 to Japan in the other semi-final.

Malaysia, who had beaten India in the last-four stage eight years ago at Guangzhou, made their wasteful opponents pay for their mistakes, both in regulation time and the shoot-off.

The teams were tied 2-2 after 60 minutes.

India conceded a late goal, extending the match into the shoot-off after Harmanpreet Singh and Varun Kumar had scored from penalty-corners in the 33rd and 40th minute.

India's captain and goalkeeper Sreejesh saves a goal during the Asian Games hockey semi-final match against Malaysia 

IMAGE: India's goalkeeper Sreejesh pulls off a save during the men's hockey semi-final against Malaysia. Photograph: Vijay Verma/PTI

Malaysia struck through Faizal Saari (39th minute) and Muhammad Razie, who got the all-important equaliser less than two minutes before the end of regulation time.

In the shoot-off, it was anyone's game and Malaysia held their nerve better to make their second Asiad final.

India, who had scored a record 76 goals in the group stage, were left stunned after S V Sunil missed his attempt in sudden-death. Only Akashdeep and Harmanpreet scored in the first five shots of the shoot-off while Manpreet Singh, Dilpreet Singh and Sunil faltered.

Coverage: Asian Games 2018

Goalkeeper P R Sreejesh kept India in the game as he only let in two goals, from Muhammad Ashari and Fitri Saari. Tengku Ahmad, Faizal Saari and Muhammad Azuan missed the target for Malaysia.

In sudden death, Malaysia's all five attempts were successful while India scored the first four before Sunil cracked under pressure.

Earlier, India were on the offensive from the word go, earning a penalty-corner in the first minute of the match. But Harmanpreet had his flick saved by Malaysian custodian Kumar Subramaniam.

Four minutes later, it was Malaysia's turn and drag-flicker Muhammad Ashari found the net, only for the goal to be disallowed by the video umpire as a foul was committed.

India penetrated the opposition circle at will. A flurry of penalty-corners, in total four, came India's way in the opening quarter but they were unable to convert. Against the run of play, Malaysia, earned a couple of penalty-corners in the 13th minute, but P R Sreejesh was up to the task.

The pace of the second quarter was erratic. The 21st minute saw both teams getting a penalty-corner each and to India's disappointment, Harmanpreet's hit was easily saved by the Malaysian goalie.

Another chance was not converted after Manpreet's ball into the circle did not get the required deflection. No more shots were on target and to add to India's frustration, its referral for a penalty-corner was rejected on the stroke of half-time.

India finally broke the deadlock early in third quarter as Harmanpreet slotted it in towards the left of the goalkeeper, helped by a deflection from a Malaysian defender standing at the goal. It was India's sixth penalty-corner. 

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