India ended their decade long wait for the ASIA silverware as they beat Malaysia 2-1 in Bangladesh in the Final of this year’s Asia Cup Hockey. The men in blue were the best team in the tournament and deserved the crown after this victory against a spirited Malaysia side.
India’s Winning Journey:
India were grouped with hosts Bangladesh, Pakistan and Japan in the pool stage. They won all the matches which involved a 7-0 thrashing of Bangladesh and qualified for the Super 4.
Harmanpreet is the joint top scorer of this year’s Asia Cup
In the Super fours, India won against Pakistan and Malaysia and qualified for the Finals as the Winners of this play off round.
India had beaten Malaysia 6-2 in the Super fours but Final is a different ball game.
But the buoyant Indian team took the lead in the Finale through Ramandeep Singh just after three minutes. Sunil’s cross was deflected to the post by Ramandeep, but he managed to put the ball in the back of the net from the rebound. It was no such a cakewalk for the favorites though, as the first time finalists Malaysia came hard on them. They were good in passing and penetration but lacked the final touch along with wasting penalty corners. Lalit doubled India’s lead a minute before half time.
Indian team celebrating after a goal
After the break, the Malaysians though showed some of their recent spring but couldn’t find the goal. They scored finally in the 50th minute to halve the deficit when Shahril Saabah scored from close ranges. It was a nervy moment for the young Indian team in the last minutes but they held on to yield a magnificent victory.
- This is India’s 3rd Asia Cup triumph, the last came in 2007 in Chennai.
- India scored a total of 28 goals in the tournament, most by a team.
- Harmanpreet Singh is the joint top scorer in the tournament with Malaysia’s Faizal Saari, both have 7 goals.
Pakistan beat South Korea 6-3 to take the 3rd place. Hosts Bangladesh finished sixth in the tournament.