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Friday August 30, 2013 MYT 11:40:00 PM
Saturday August 31, 2013 MYT 12:03:40 AM
by aftar singh
Malaysian players try to get the ball from India's Rupinder Pal Singh during their Asia Cup semi-final match on Aug 30, 2013. India won 2-0, making it to the final.
IPOH: Malaysia wasted numerous chances to lose 2-0 to India and let slip the chance of qualifying for their first ever Asia Cup final at the Azlan Shah Cup Stadium on Friday.
India, who got their goals through defender V.R. Raghunath (7th) and Mandeep Singh (60th), will face defending champions South Korea in the final on Sunday.
Malaysia will take on three-time champions Pakistan in the third-placing match.
National coach Paul Revington was disappointed with his strikers’ profligacy.
“We had so many chances compared to India but couldn’t score. I’m disappointed with the forwards for firing blanks,” he said.
“However, we will go all out to get the better of Pakistan to at least win the bronze medal.”
India coach Roelant Oltmans was pleased with his players’ performance, saying “it was our best match so far in the tournament”.
“Malaysia gave us a real good fight from the start to the end but we did well to take an early lead. My players were physically and mentally stronger ... and we’re happy to reach the final,” said the Dutchman.
Forward Faizal Saari was the biggest letdown in the national team as looked lost in the match.
The national defenders, for once, played better in the match.
Malaysia, cheered on by 7,000 fans, went on the offensive right from the start and should have taken the lead through Faizal in the second minute. But his close range shot went inches wide.
A minute later Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor’s reverse stick attempt from the top D also sailed wide.
India then took the lead in the seventh minute off their first penalty corner, with Raghunath’s powerful drag flick beating goalkeeper S. Kumar.
It was Raghunath’s sixth goal of the tournament.
The Malaysian forwards wasted nearly half a dozen gilt-edged chances in the first-half alone.
Malaysia earned their first penalty corner 10 minutes into the second-half but India goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh did well to save Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim’s low flick.
Faizal had another golden chance to equalise in the 55th minute but his deflected shot went inches wide.
Three minutes later, Nabil Fiqri missed an open chance.
And India made Malaysia pay for their poor finishing when 18-year-old Mandeep Singh collected a through pass from Ramandeep Singh to tuck the ball into the open goal in the 60th minute.
Tags / Keywords:
hockey, Malaysia, India, Asia Cup, V.R. Raghunath, Mandeep Singh, Paul Revington, Roelant Oltmans
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