KUALA LUMPUR: India lifted the MHF Under-19 international invitational hockey title with a convincing 3-0 win over Malaysia in the final at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil here yesterday.
The reigning junior world champions were in top form and displayed a consistent performance throughout the match.
Three well-taken goals in the 11th, 34th and 56th minutes by T. Khandaker, Prabodh Tirkey and Vinaya respectively clinched them the title.
It was a surprise that Malaysia chose to discard their usual game plan to go on the attack.
Instead, they chose to keep the ball in their territory, especially in the first half.
They also indulged in too many back passes and all the Indians needed to do was to wait for unforced errors from their opponent to regain the ball.
Indian coach Harinder Singh was also taken aback by the Malaysians' approach to the game.
“I do not know why they were so defensive. Malaysia are better at going forward,” said Harinder.
The Malaysians also failed to close down on the Indians. They also gave a lot of space on the flanks, which Indian forward Gurucharan Singh used well to break through.
It brought them the first goal in the 11th minute.
Gurucharan made good work on the right flank. He beat two defenders relayed a pass to Khandaker, who from close range struck a hefty shot past goalkeeper Khairul Nizam.
Malaysia gained three penalty corners but all of hem came to nought.
Mohamed Saharun Nabil and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin had two good chances in the first half but they failed to make them count.
Malaysians paid the price for another piece of poor defending in the 34th minute.
K.P. Roy went forward to take the penalty corner but passed the ball to skipper Prabodh Tirkey, who flicked the ball into goal.
Malaysia played a better second half.
They had the Indians back-pedalling and in the 54th minute earned three consecutive penalty corners but failed to get the better of goalkeeper Adrian D’souza.
A minute later, the Indians got the ball out of the D quickly and the trio of Gururchanran, Khandeker and Vinaya combined well to score the third goal.
Vinaya finished the move from the top of the D as Khairul was rushing out in an attempt to stop him.
The Indians then kept a close check on the Malaysians by nipping their opponents raids in the bud to troop out deserving winners.
In the playoff for third place, Pakistan routed South Korea 7-0.
Mahmood Ali scored a hat-trick while Mohamed Imran bagged two goals. The other scorers were Mohamed Naeem and Tariq Aziz.
Malaysia: Khairul Nizam, Engku Malek Andullah, Megat Azrafiq, Mohamed Shukri, Mohamed Suffian, Mohamed Sallehin, Mohamed Fikri, Mohamed Shahrun Nabil, Mohamed Fairus Hamsani, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Mohamed Fakhrulrazi.
Reserves: Mohamed Shah, Mohamed Izwan Hassan, Mohamed Redza Maadun, Kelvinder Singh, S. Selvaraju.
India: Adrian Dsouza, K.P. Roy, Nitin Kumar, Vivek Gupta, Tushar Khandekar, Sandeep Kumar, Gurucharan Singh, William Xalco, Prabodh Tirkey, Hari Prasad, Vinaya.
Reserves: Pfokrello, Jagatb Jothy, Navpreet Singh, Saravana Kumar, Jetinder Pal Singh.