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Ghost of Guangzhou Lingers on as India Lose to Malaysia in Shoot-out, Face Pakistan in Bronze Play-off

In a huge upset, defending champions India were beaten by Malaysia 7-6 in a penalty shoot-out, and thus ruling out the opportunity to book a berth for the Tokyo Olympics from this tournament.

Suprita Das | News18 Sports

Updated:August 30, 2018, 10:52 PM IST
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In a huge upset, defending champions India were beaten by Malaysia 7-6 in a penalty shoot-out, and thus ruling out the opportunity to book a berth for the Tokyo Olympics from this tournament.

Malaysia were no doubt the more deserving winners after having kept India on its toes for the entire duration of the 60 minutes which ended with the scoreline reading 2-2.

Malaysia easily looked like they were going to be the toughest opponent for India in the tournament so far. The first quarter ended in a flash, with chances for both sides. India’s defence needed massive tightening for them to last over the next three quarters.

It was goalless going into halftime, even as India continued to create chances but fail to convert them. By the end of two quarters, the Men in Blue had wasted five penalty corners. Not just that, they didn’t even have enough possession, and had captain and goalkeeper Sreejesh to thank for Malyasia being unable to get on to the scoreboard.

The third quarter was where it all changed and between the two sides, three goals were scored in no time with India in the lead. But not once did Malaysia let the Indians breathe comfortably. They absolutely deserved the second equalizer in which Sreejesh was absolutely clueless.

The match went into sudden death when the teams were tied even after the penalty shoot out. Sreejesh, who has been India’s savior in several crunch situations, was having an unusually off day, as the Malaysians scored from every direction. India kept up, till the time veteran SV Sunil missed his shot, as Malaysia won 7-6 on penalties.

A gold medal would have helped India qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, but now they will have a bronze medal to fight for against arch-rivals Pakistan. Interestingly, India had lost to Malaysia in the semi-final of the 2010 Asian Games as well in Guangzhou.

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| Edited by: Pratik Sagar
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