India defeated Malaysia 6-1 in their last league match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup on Friday to book a place in the final. Goals by Nikkin, Harjeet, Mujtaba, Talwinder and a brace from Ramandeep ensured the thumping win for the Indian men, while Malaysia pulled one goal back through Saabah.
Looking for a win on to seal their place in the final, India got off to a flyer in the match with the forwards attacking with purpose. In the 3rd minute, Sunil dragged it back for Nikkin Thimmaiah to open the scoring from point-blank range. Malaysia had a golden opportunity to equalize when Aiman found himself through on goal, but with no support arriving, he delayed the shot and Harjeet Singh recovered brilliantly to put in an excellent tackle. The rising star then made the men-in-yellow pay with a driving run from deep. The 20-year old scored in the 7th minute after a hustling run that saw him drive the ball into the back of the net with a thunderous reverse-hit to double India’s lead. And there was an opportunity to further widen the gap with only 10 minutes on the clock, but Sunil’s effort was saved valiantly by
Malaysia started the second quarter looking much more settled than the first period, but looked very wayward in attack. After gaining a little momentum, however, they lost their captain at a crucial period. Razie Rahim was shown the yellow card in the 25th minute, meaning Malaysia played under-strength for the rest of the second quarter and India made them pay. In the same minute, India won a penalty corner. After some tidy stickwork from Danish Mujtaba and Sannuvanda Utthappa, Ramandeep Singh found himself unmarked in the mouth of the goal, and made no mistake, slotting in India’s third and to put the side in the driver’s seat. Mujtaba followed his good work two minutes later with a goal of his own, scoring from another penalty corner to give India an unassailable lead. By the time the half-time hooter went off, India
With nothing left to play, India took their foot off the gas in the last period allowing Shahril Saabah to pull one back for Malaysia. But India responded back in style with Talwinder Singh punishing Rahman’s poor clearance by scoring the sixth Indian goal in the 50th minute.