Dhaka: Indian men’s hockey team on Sunday continued scintillating performance as they registered convincing 2-1 win over Malaysia in the Hero Asia Cup Hockey finals here at the Hockey Stadium”>Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium.
Goals by Ramandeep Singh and Lalit Upadhyay helped India to lift Hero Asia Cup 2017. This is the third time that India have won the Asia Cup title and after a gap of 10 years.
Ramandeep’s early goal gave India the charge in the match. Lalit Upadhyay scored another goal helped India go for halftime with 2-0 lead.
The team started the match aggressively, making clear that their intention was to win the title against the second highest ranked team in Asia.
It was in the 3rd minute that the Indians found a gap in the Malaysian defence when SV Sunil played a pass from the right flank to find Ramandeep Singh inside the circle, who hit the target on his second attempt to give India the all-important lead in the final.
India continued to dominate the possession in the first quarter as Malaysia failed to produce any good opportunities. The second quarter also saw India produce some outstanding attacking play as they looked to extend their lead.
However, Malaysia held on and created some chances of their own as the Indian defence stood tall to deny Malaysia of any real opportunities to score.
At the stroke of half-time, it was India was threatened again through the left flank as Akashdeep Singh found Sumit in an advance position with a long pass and the latter then found Lalit Upadhyay inside the circle, who then calmly tapped in the ball in the back of the net to make it 2-0 in India’s favour.
The third quarter was a balanced one where Malaysia started to open up spaces in the Indian defence but all their efforts were well kept out.
India on the other hand, had opportunities of their own in the latter part of the third quarter but could not produce a third goal to seal the deal.
Malaysia took advantage of the same as they came back hard in the fourth quarter scoring a field goal in the 50th minute via Shahril Saabah as the Indian defence failed to stop the Malaysian attackers.
Malaysia kept up the pressure on the Indian defence in the final 10 minutes of the match, but India absorbed the attacking forays made. The Indian team showed some resolute defending in the last five minutes to keep their 2-1 lead intact.
This was Malaysia’s first final at the Asia Cup. Earlier in the Super 4 stage, India had produced a brilliant performance to beat Malaysia 6-2.
After suffering two back-to-back losses to Malaysia earlier this year, the Manpreet Singh-led team ensured a well-structured game to demolish the Malaysian defence.
Goals by Akashdeep Singh (14′), Harmanpreet Singh (19′) and SK Uthappa (24′) that gave India a 3-0 head start followed by Gurjant Singh (33′), SV Sunil (40′) and Sardar Singh (60′) ensured fireworks in favour of India.
India had stormed into the finals after defeating arch rivals Pakistan 4-0 in their final Super 4 game on Saturday here.
The first half of the match was goalless, but in the second half India scored four goals- one each by Satbir Singh (39′), Harmanpreet Singh (51′), Lalit Upadhyay (52′) and Gurjant Singh (57′).