After 10-years, Indian hockey team has showered with its play magic at the Asia Cups to win the final against Malaysian team to win the Asia Cup, once again.
The Indian team has won Asia Cup back in 2003 at Kuala Lumpur, and in 2007 at Chennai; but ever since then, the team had been waiting to prove its continental dominance in hockey. Being one of the best teams in Asia and ranked as 6th on international level, it was time for the Indian team to reinforce their dominance in the continent. On Sunday, the ever-improving Malaysian tried its best and fought valiantly – giving a tough game back to the gripping men in blue. Its efforts bore fruit in the 50th minute when Shahril Saabah pulled a goal back and the defence helped in holding the lead during the nervous final 10 minutes.
Indian team defeated Malaysia with a score of 2-1 in Dhaka on Sunday and hold the unique record of holding all the continental titles simultaneously; as India have also maintained victories at all levels, including – the Asian Games, Asian Champions Trophy and under-18 Asia Cup winners. It was a perfect start-off for newly appointed Indian coach – Marijne Sjoerd, as this tournament proved his efficiency to handle the team and its prestigious position. Making it even better, the top ranked men in blue finished unbeaten in the tournament, having won all its matches except for the 1-1 draw against Korea in the Super 4 stage.
With all guns out, the Indian team came up with a lead in just third minute when Ramandeep scored from a rebound after his initial deflection from a S.V. Sunil cross hit the post. A minute before half-time, Upadhyay doubled India’s lead when he beautifully deflected home Sumit’s reverse hit cross from the left flank. In fourth and final quarter, Malaysia came back into the game when Saabah scored from close range in the 50th minute as the Indian defence wilted under pressure. The last 10 minutes proved to be nervously tight for the India team as Malaysia opted for back to back attacks, desperate for an equaliser before the final bell rang; but Indian defence stood tall to hold the attacks and won the game for the fame. With this, India won the gold, Malay took up their best with the silver and Pakistan clinched themselves a bronze at Asia Cup 2017.