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Azlan Shah hockey: India beat Malaysia, go second

March 26, 2019 22:13 IST

IMAGE: India’s players celebrate a goal against Malaysia in Tuesday’s match in the Azlan Shah hockey tournament, in Ipoh, Malaysia. Photograph: Hockey India/Twitter

India struck four times after a goalless first quarter to tame hosts Malaysia 4-2 and rise to second in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament, in Ipoh, Malaysia, on Tuesday.

Sumit Kumar (17th minute), Sumit Kumar junior (27th), drag-flicker Varun Kumar (36th) and Mandeep Singh (58th) scored found for India.

Razie Rahim (27th minute) and Firhan Ashari (57th) accounted for the hosts’ goals.

 

With two wins and a draw, India moved up to the second in the points’ table with seven and are placed behind Korea (7).

India had beaten Japan 2-0 in the first match before playing out a 1-1 draw with Korea.

Five minutes into the game, Malaysia won their first penalty-corner but Krishan B Pathak, guarding India's goal, brilliantly saved it.

Surender Kumar continued to remain the main man for India in the backline, thoroughly supported by the experienced Birendra Lakra, making important connections that helped the forward-line surge into the striking circle.

Varun Kumar's pass into the top of the circle saw Hardik Singh work in tandem with Mandeep Singh to set up a shot on goal.

It was eventually Sumit who got the right deflection and help India take an important 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.

Later, Mandeep earned India their first penalty-corner, but after several re-takes they could not extend the lead.

Soon Malaysia won their second penalty-corner and Razie Rahim did not disappoint the home crowd, striking a low shot to give Malaysia the equaliser in the 21st minute.

A good tackle by Sumit to dispossess Malaysia's Faizal Saari set-up India's second goal. This time it was Sumit Kumar Jr who put the ball past Malaysia goalkeeper Hairi Rahman in the 27th minute.

The third quarter was intense with both teams rallying on counter attacks but India remained determined. They challenged the Malaysian defence with solid circle entries. Mandeep Singh worked his magic yet again winning India another important penalty-corner.

Taken by drag-flicker Varun Kumar, he scored on the re-take with a powerful flick, keeping the ball low to the left.

The 3-1 lead put pressure on the hosts. Tough Malaysia had made numerous attempts on the Indian goal in the third quarter, including a penalty-corner, an alert Krishan did well to keep India's lead intact.

The fourth quarter, though, saw Malaysia score a field goal through Firhan Ashari in the 57th minute. He did well to beat goalkeeper Sreejesh, who had made two great saves earlier in the quarter.

In the 58th minute, a brilliant circle entry and assist by Sumit Kumar Jr to Mandeep Singh helped him score India's fourth goal.

Birendra Lakra was named the man-of-the-match.

India take on Canada next, on Wednesday.

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