Sunday, October 22, 2017

ASIA CUP: India is just one step ahead...

MALAYSIA gave their best, but still it was not enough to deny India the Asia Cup gold medal in Dhaka, Bangladesh, yesterday.
  After reaching the final for the first time in 35 years, India denied glory with a 2-1 victory.
  The national players were placed in a tight spot in the third minute itself, when Ramandeep Singh scored the opening goal, and the 6-2 drubbing in the round robin came to mind.
  Midfield was completely missing, like in the first three quarters against South Korea, and India players had a field day breaking into the semicircle to take pot shots at goalkeeper S. Kumar.
  Kumar brought off a handful of super saves, before India took a 2-0 lead off Lalit Upadhyay in the 29th and the score remained until the half-time break.
  Shahril Saabah ignited the fight-back with a field goal in the 50th minute, and India protested, but lost their video referral as well.
   And with three minutes left in the match, coach Stephen van Huizen took out goalkeeper S. Kumar for an extra outfield player in a last gasp attempt to draw the match and take it to penalty shoot out.
  The tactic worked in Malaysia's famous 1-1 draw against South Korea, but even though it pinned India in their own semi-circle, Malaysia failed to score.

ASIA CUP: Malaysia in the final!


MALAYSIA diced with danger for 59 minutes before holding South Korea to a famous 1-1 draw to advance into the Asia Cup final for the first time since 1982.
  South Korea needed a win, while Malaysia a draw to advance.
  Yang Jihun 24th minute low penalty corner push hit goalkeeper S. Kumar's pads and slipped in, to keep the Koreans World Cup dream alive.
   But the day belonged to Malaysia, as a 59th minute penalty corner goal from Faizal Shaari was enough to play against India Sunday.
 India had beaten Pakistan 4-0 earlier.
 However, it was Malaysia's worse game of the tournament as they made too many errors for almost the entire part of the match, until coach Stephen van Huizen took out goalkeeper S. Kumar and replaced him with a kicking back with three minutes to end.
  Pressured by numbers, Korea gave away a 59th minute penalty corner and Faizal Shaari made sure by almost tearing the netting.
  "This is what the entire team had wanted -- to play in the final -- and even though there was a lot of drama on and off the pitch (rain delay) today, we achieved our target.
  "Now, for some well deserved rest, before we play India."
  India had beaten Malaysia 6-2 in the round robin.
  Malaysia, India and Pakistan have already qualified for the World Cup via the World League format.
  South Korea needed to win the Asia Cup gold to make the grade.
  India coach Sjoerd Marijne said: "We had a good game against Malaysia in the round robin (won 6-2) and it would be nice to see if we can match that performance again in the final again."
  And India skipper Manpreet Singh felt that they had to play their own game, and not think of the opponent.
  "My style of play is to rally my men to play and stick to our game style. We don't let the opponents dictate and we will be doing the same against Malaysia in the final," said Manpreet.
   India were not their usual self early in the match, while Pakistan were more determined to score in this rain interrupted match.
  The stakes were high, as India only needed a draw while Pakistan were playing for pride after they lost 3-1 in Group A.
  Satbir Singh finally breaks the duck in the 39th minute off a goalmouth melee, and India were back in command.
   Harmanpreet Singh (51st), Lalit Upadhyay (52nd) and Gurjant Singh (57th) scored the other goals.


               P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
INDIA          3  2  1  0  11 3  7
MALAYSIA       3  1  1  1  6  7  4
S KOREA        3  0  3  0  3  3  3
PAKISTAN       3  0  1  2  3  11 1

  RESULTS: Malaysia 1 South Korea 1, India 4 Pakistan 0.
  SUNDAY: Final -- Malaysia v India (7.30pm); Third-Fourth: Pakistan v South Korea (3pm).