Taking their Commonwealth Games medal campaign further, the Indian Men’s Hockey Team defeated Malaysia 2-1 in their third Pool B encounter at Gold Coast, Australia. Star of the day was Harmanpreet Singh, who scored twice to win the match for India.
Starting the match with a positive, India got their first penalty corner in the second minute of the game, to be well embraced by Star Drag Flicker Harmanpreet Singh who scored improvising on the injection and keeping the ball low to his right to find the gap in Malaysian defense. Malaysia tried to make amend to the scoreline as they also won a penalty corner in the fifth minute, but Rahim’s drag flick was off target. Teams went to break with a 1-0 score in India’s favor.
Coming off the break, Faizal Saari scored a brilliant field goal to equalize for Malaysia in the first minute into the quarter. India, too, upped their game and went on attack but their shots were off target most of the time, even they couldn’t capitalise on a penalty corner they got in the second quarter. Teams went for a half time break with 1-1 scoreline.
Coming off the break, India kept their pace and aggression intact, eventually after five attempts at PC this quarter between Indian drag-flickers Rupinder Pal Singh and Harmanpreet Singh, the team got a match winning lead of 2-1 in the 44th minute when Harmanpreet converted a penalty corner into goal. India will have to work hard on converting the chances they get at goals given they have a Hockey World Cup also following up the mega event this year.
These were the only three goals, as no other attempts from either side got to the back of the goalpost. With this win, India kept their Semifinals hopes alive. Good part of the match was that India won their second successive match in Pool B keeping the momentum got in the second match intact.
Speaking about the match and performance of the team, Indian Chief Coach, Sjoerd Marijne said, “We are happy to be on the winning side. I think the team has improved since our first match against Pakistan. Though there are still certain areas we must get better with, this win will give the team a good momentum for the next match.”
With wins in match no. 2 & 3, against Wales (4-3) and Malaysia (2-1) and a 2-2 draw against Pakistan, India are lying atop the pool table.
Speaking about the upcoming encounter against England on Wednesday, Marijne expected a better display of skills and said, “Again, it’s not about the opponents but our own game. I am yet to see this team come up with a 7/10 performance in this tournament. If each of them manage to play their role to perfection, I am confident of a good show against England.”
India will play England on April 11 at 15.00 hours (Indian Time).