MALAYSIA HUMBLED INDIA 3–2 TO MOVE INTO THE SEMIS OF HERO HOCKEY WORLD LEAGUE
It was a disappointing day for the Indian hockey team as they were beaten by a lower ranked Malaysian team in a thrilling encounter. The match started with lot of expectations for India to make it to semis. Malaysia is well known opponent to India and both teams have played quite often in recent times. The first quarter belonged to Malaysia who started strongly with well machined attack and strong in defence. India hardly got any chances and it was the Malaysians who tool lead in 19th minute thanks to penalty corner by Razie Rahim. Vikas Dahiya could have done better at indian post but it got deflected from his glove and back at the net. India hardly recovered from the goal before they conceded another penalty corner. Result was the same, a neatly taken variation with the penalty corner and Tengku deflected the ball passed the keeper right in the top corner.
India came strongly before the half time with two back to back field goals from Ramandeep Singh with brilliant finish in from of the Malaysian post. It was equal spoils at the half time. India got some chances just before the whistle but failed to convert and take an advantage into the break.
Third quarter didn’t see any real chances going either side. It was mostly like the first quarter where Malayisa put pressure on India, got couple of penalty corners but failed to convert any. The match was evenly balanced with both teams trying out each other defence before Malaysia got another penalty corner in 48th minute of the match. This time Razie Rahim didn’t made any mistake and out the full force behind the shot with the ball zipped past Akash Chitke’s right glove. Indian goalkeeper could have done better to stop that, poor goal keeping really at this level. India made some excellent moves after going behind but couldn’t convert into any real threat. They lose their referral also appealing for a penalty corner which was there I think and questions could be raised over the level of referring in this match. Last chance of the game came to Ramandeep Singh to equalise where he deflected the ball right across the goal, so near yet so far.
It was an amazing win for the Malaysians who have also booked their berth for the next year’s world cup to be held in India. Last time they played in this prestigious tournament was back in 2002 as the host country. So it was a double delight for the tigers and a disappointing end for the Indians.
In the other quarter final, Argentina beat Pakistan 3–1 and will meet Malaysia in the semis.