India knocked out of Junior Asia Cup hockey
Resurgent Malaysia dashed the hopes of defending champions India as they registered a 2-0 victory in the semifinal.
Malacca (Malaysia): Resurgent Malaysia dashed the hopes of defending champions India as they registered a 2-0 victory in the semifinal of the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca on Thursday. After a barren first half, Malaysia struck twice in the second session to frustrate the Indians, who adopted a slow game tactics to contain the marauding forwards of Malaysia, but failed to shine when their turn came for scoring.
Star striker Faizal Sarri sent the ball to the roof of the net off the first penalty corner in the 40th minute to break the goal jinx and then, four minutes before the hooter, Md. Shamim added another.
India were playing with a player less when the second goal came as defender Sukhmanpreet was shown a yellow card for a body tackle. The Malaysians thus reached the final of the Junior Asia only for second time after 1992 when they incidentally defeated India in the semis.
The match did not rise to the expected level, with each side contend to play the waiting game. Once Malaysia struck against the run of play, the Indians pressed hard and created many chances but were clueless to make use of them.
India withered a few entries into the circle by the hosts, and then gradually took control of the proceedings. The Malaysians found it hard to score despite full stands egging them on.
India created umpteen moves in the last ten minutes of the first session but failed to capitalise. Sukhdev twice, Sukhdeep Singh and Malak Singh and Naveen Antil came close to scoring but were inaccurate and wayward in shooting.
Malaysian coach Dharmaraj attributed his team's success to the goalie among others and praised him for his stellar show.
"Faiz was great today unlike the three previous matches. His role was all the more important because both teams were playing cautiously, allowing other team to make the mistake, and the team that takes the lead is going to call the shots. So it was," he asserted.
The successful coach also expressed surprise the Indians did not play their natural aggressive game.
Indian coach Baljit Singh was unhappy the forwards did not rise to the expected level. "In games such as this we are not expected to waste chances. We created more chances than the others despite adopting a defensive game," he said
"I took the team about two months ago. At least 11 players who figured in the previous international outings are not here. It is also the first tournament for the new bunch of boys. Though I am not satisfied, one has to consider the overall scenario before evaluating us," Baljit said.