Source: News Bharati English27 Oct 2016 10:02:40
Kuantan, October 26: After surpassing China with a massive 9-0 on Tuesday, the Indian hockey heroes crushed the Malaysian side on Wednesday by 2-1 at the Asian Hockey Champions Trophy. The hosts Malaysia did not have the day in their final pool encounter.
Played in front of a vocal and partisan home crowd there was no doubt that this top of the table clash was going to be played with pace and skill and the teams didn’t disappoint. They both raced out of the blocks at a frenetic pace, attacking each other constantly, almost without a break from hooter to hooter.
It was Malaysia’s Subramiam Kumar who had the busier first quarter in goal, his saves keeping Malaysia from dropping behind too early in the game. He padded away a Rupinder Pal Singh drag flick in the third minute, diving to the right superbly to keep his team in the game.
India won another PC in the 12th minute, and Rupinder Pal’s drag flick was initially saved by the defender on the line. The rebound fell to him again, and from that he made no mistake, unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner to give India the lead.
Both teams dropped the pace ever so slightly in the second quarter, India content with giving Malaysia the possession and playing on the counter. In the 17th minute, the hosts had their first PC of the game, although Razie Rahim’s drag flick was expertly blocked by Chinglensana Singh running in the first battery. A foul gave Malaysia another PC and from this Razie gave his team the equaliser.
India were constantly attacking post that equaliser, and Affan Yousuf had the best chance for the team after Akashdeep’s dribble and cut back in the circle left him in front of the goal with only Kumar to beat. His shot though was wide.
Chikte was called into action again, later in the quarter, pulling an exceptional save off a Malaysian counter from point-blank range to deny the hosts and ensure both teams went into half time level at 1-
The pattern continued in the third quarter, both teams constantly rushing at each other, looking for the opening. Ramandeep had a superb opportunity first, intercepting a pass by Razie, before driving into the circle, but his shot went wide. At the opposite end, Firhan Ashari had a similar chance, but he last ditch defending from Surender Kumar saw the attempt go wide.
Then India had another PC, Rupinder Pal forcing yet another save from Kumar in Malaysia’s goal. The final chance of the quarter fell to Malaysia of a PC. Chikte thought was alert to the danger, parrying away Razie’s drag flick to safety. The teams went into the final quarter, with neither able to break the deadlock.
India went a man down early in the final quarter, after Surender Kumar’s yellow card, and were forced onto the defensive for almost the entirety of the quarter. Malaysia attacked in droves, but India’s 10 men held strong and then right at the end, won themselves a PC and an opportunity to take a shock lead. Rupinder Pal Singh made no mistake from the drag flick and fired them up with two minutes left on the clock.
It wasn’t the end of the action though, Malaysia won a PC in the final minute of the match. Chikte again was at hand, diving to his right to palm away the drag flick safely to ensure India would hold on for a victory. The Semi Finals will be held on October 29, 2016 at 1545 hrs IST and 1800 hrs IST.