Gurjant Singh brace in India’s 5-1 win over minnows Malaysia: Sultan Azlan Hockey

By | March 7, 2018

Indian forward Shilanand Lakra in action against Malaysia on Wednesday. A Hockey India image

Ipoh (Malaysia), 7 March 2018: The Indian Men’s Hockey Team managed to keep a lowly-Malaysia at bay before riding roughshod in the latter part of the second session for a commanding 5-1 win in the 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup here on Wednesday. Hosts Malaysia came into the match after a stunning win over Argentina but the team found it difficult to repeat the high-performance again.

Odisha’s youngster Shilanand Lakra drew the first blood in the 10th minute but Malaysia restored parity with Faizal Saari (33’) striking back in the 33rd minute.

Gurjant Singh then put India ahead once again in the 42nd minute and went on to score his second goal in the 57th minute. Sumit Kumar (48’) and Ramandeep Singh (51′) were the other scorers for India. India still nurtures its chances of making to the Final with this win.

Coming into the match after a stunning 2-1 win against Olympic Champions Argentina, Malaysia were quick to get off the blocks, attacking India’s circle with their front-runner Faizal Saari attempting the team’s first shot on goal. He beat three Indian defenders into the circle but couldn’t connect a goal-bound ball. But India scored against the run of play when Lakra found the target. The new entrant in the Indian team picked up a baseline pass from Gurjant Singh to tap it over the Malaysian goalkeeper.

The following minutes saw Indian goalkeeper Suraj Karkera stay busy at the post as he made some brilliant saves. It was Faizal Saari’s second attempt to score which was parried away by the young Karkera. He later saved another well-struck shot by Tengku Tajudin.

India did well to dominate with ball possession while their defence stuck to their guns to deny a goal. Meanwhile, Surender Kumar, Shilanand Lakra , nd Sumit Kumar worked in tandem to win the first PC of the match in the second quarter but Amit Rohidas’s flick was blocked away. Just seconds before the halftime, Fitri Saari showed some good stick work to take a shot on goal but went far too wide disappointing the home crowd.

With just one goal up, India had their task cut out in the third quarter. Conceding a PC three minutes into the third quarter didn’t help their cause. Faizal Saari, who had missed many opportunities to score early on, was accurate as he fiercely struck the ball past Karkera to equalize in the 33rd minute. A PC in the 42nd minute saw Gurjant Singh hold on to the rebound, after Varun Kumar’s flick rebounded off the goalkeeper. An attentive Gurjant had to tap the ball into the post to fetch India the much-needed 2-1 lead.

The action boiled down to the final quarter when India changed gears and attacked the hosts who looked like they were losing steam. Though Malaysia won a PC at the start of the fourth quarter, Karkera who was brought back into the post did an outstanding job to save and kept skipper Razie Rahim from scoring. It was Ramandeep Singh who did well as a feeder when he brilliantly assisted Sumit Kumar who scored India’s third goal in the 48th minute. India scored two more goals through Ramandeep (51’) and Gurjant Singh (57’) who scored in a similar fashion off a PC followed that sealed the match for India.

On March 9, India will take on Ireland in their last round-robin match at 15.35 hours IST.

Matches will be telecast live on Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1 and Hotstar.

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