Sultan Azlan Shah Cup : India end tournament on a high beating Ireland 4-1

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Sultan Azlan Shah Cup : India end tournament on a high beating Ireland 4-1

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SportsCafe Desk

03/10/2018

The Indian Hockey team ended a disappointing outing at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup with a commanding 4-1 win over European minnows Ireland in the 5/6 place playoff today. Goals from Varun Kumar (2), Shilanand Lakra, and Gurjant Singh clinched the game for India as they finished fifth.

A lot was expected of the young Indian side that coach Sjoerd Marijne had assembled for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, but unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned. An opening day loss to Olympic champions Argentina was followed by a loss to the mighty Aussies which left the Indian team with a lot to do in order to make it to the next round.

The Indian team had an outside chance of qualifying for the gold medal match on Friday, but they squandered the opportunity as they lost to Ireland by a 3-2 scoreline. However, they did manage some sort of consolation as they took revenge against the European side when they met for the fifth-sixth place play-off match, as the Indians comfortably beat their counterparts by a score of 4-1.

The encounter between the two teams was marred by intense heat, but the Indian’s pressed on the pedal early and kept their attacking mentality for the most part of the game. Goals from players Varun Kumar (2), Shilanand Lakra, Gurjant Singh helped India avenge their unfortunate loss versus the same opponents yesterday. Julian Dale managed to pull one back in the closing stages of the match as it ended 4-1.

Following Ireland’s win against the Indian team, the Europeans had lost all their previous matches in the tournament which made India strong favorites heading into the game. If India would have defeated the team ranked 10th in the world, they would have managed to put pressure on England and Malaysia for a medal spot. But to everyone’s surprise, the Irish pulled off a narrow victory to crush Indian hopes of any form of a medal.

This result from Ipoh is a major concern for the Indian youngsters with the side going into a busy calendar year that also has the  Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Cup. The Indian coaching staff will have to figure out the right mix in order to get the best out of the side.

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