India reach final beating Pakistan

India players congratulate Akashdeep Singh after he scored their opening goal. Image courtesy Neeraj Tiwari
India players congratulate Akashdeep Singh after he scored their opening goal. Image courtesy Neeraj Tiwari
Author

23 October, 2017

The Asian champions automatically qualify for the 2018 Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India.

If India win today, they will reach the final of the Asia Cup.

After two games each in Super four stage, India are on top with four points followed by Malaysia (three points), Korea (two points) and Pakistan (one point).

The last time the two countries met in the Asia Cup on October 15, India beat Pakistan 3-1 and they would not want to carry on with the same domination. Sardar Singh, in particular, was phenomenal with his striding forward, he combined with Sumit at times to scare the opponent's backline and get the ball back of the nets for India.

Hockey players SV Sunil and Ramandeep Singh combined to give India the lead. The second quarter also saw India produce some outstanding attacking play as they looked to extend their lead.

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Muhammad Shahril Saabah raised Malaysia's hopes when he collected a cross outside the penalty box and scored in the 50th minute to reduce the deficit. Malaysia, who had lost to India 2-6 in the league match, struck back in the final quarter to reduce India's lead but the latter managed to hold on to their advantage till the final whistle.

For Malaysia, it was their best result in the tournament.

The Indians endured a nervous last 10 minutes as Malaysia went full throttle in search for an equaliser. He added the victory was possible because of the team work they put in.

The Malaysian team coach, Stephen van Huizen, said, "India is a tough opponent ranked much higher than us".


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