Asia Cup: India End Decade-long Wait For Crown, Beat Malaysia 2-1
India’s decade-long wait to be crowned champions of Asia finally ended as goals from Ramandeep Singh and Lalit Upadhyay helped them beat Malaysia 2-1 in the summit clash of the Asia Cup Hockey Championship.
India Men's Hockey team celebrate their third Asia Cup Hockey title in Dhaka (Image: Hockey India)
Dhaka: India’s decade-long wait to be crowned champions of Asia finally ended on Sunday after goals from Ramandeep Singh and Lalit Upadhyay helped them beat Malaysia 2-1 in the summit clash of the Asia Cup Hockey Championship.
This is India’s third ever title in the history of the tournament. The victory brings them on level terms with Pakistan, who also have three titles, and keeps the arch-rivals behind the South Koreans who have won the tournament four times.
India hit the ground running and were looking to dominate from the word go. Led by young Manpreet Singh, they took the lead in as early as the third minute when Ramandeep Singh scored from unmissable range. Just before half time it was Lalit Upadhyay who found himself in the right place to tap it into the back of the net and give his team a 2-0 cushion going into the half-time break.
The third quarter was more balanced with Malaysia fighting back and starting to open up spaces in the Indian defence, but their efforts did not reap any fruit.
India had opportunities of their own in the the third quarter but could not convert for what would have been a contest-killing third goal. Malaysia took advantage and came back hard in the fourth quarter, scoring a field goal in the 50th minute through Shahril Saabah's stick as the Indian defence failed to close out the Malaysian attackers.
Malaysia kept up the pressure on the Indian defence in the final 10 minutes of the match, but India absorbed all the attacks and showed some resolute defending in the last five minutes to keep their 2-1 lead intact.
In the end, the defensive skills displayed by India were enough to close out the game and clinch the crown for the first time since 2007.
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