Credits: Astro Awani

The Indian hockey team lost the quarterfinal match in the Hockey World League Semifinal to Malaysia 3-2 in an enthralling contest. For Malaysia, Razie Rahim scored twice off six penalty corners awarded in the 19th and 48th minute. Tengku Tajuddin also scored contributing to the Malay win. Indian striker Ramandeep scored twice to equalize but the Malaysians edged past with a slender margin.

It was not a pleasant day for India on the field as conceding six penalty corners is not what is generally seen from this team. They unsuccessfully challenged the referee’s decision for the final PC off which Rahim scored the winner. “It was not fair to us,” India’s coach Roelant Oltmans said after the match.

All of the Malaysian goals came off the PCs. The Indians were defensive at the start which did not bode well. The first quarter went goalless with India with greater possession and the Malaysians relying on counter attacks. In the beginning of the second quarter, Rahim succeeded in scoring the first goal for Malaysia after his shot from the PC was deflected by the Indian keeper Vikas Dahiya into the top of the net. A minute later a goal from Tengku followed with Rahim’s shot and him deflecting it past the keeper.

Later in the second quarter, Ramandeep scored India’s first goal off a lightening cross from Sumit from the left. Not long after that Ramandeep also converted a penalty corner to make the score level at 2-2. India was then looking as the dominant force going into the half time mark.

India looked more aggressive in the third quarter trying to penetrate through Malaysia’s defense. But the later too held on tight and did not concede another goal despite giving away two PCs. The third quarter went goalless with numerous chances to India going in vain. Malaysia received another PC in the 48th minute which was challenged by India but proved fair. Rahim scored with the PC over India’s sloppy defense.

India created numerous chances in the closing minutes of the game with two of Akashdeep’s shots being saved. Ramandeep sent one an inch wide off the left post in the last minute. Though trying the best to equalize, Indians were not able to find the back of the net till the whistle went off.

Coming into the tournament after a remarkable Azlan Shah performance and defeating Pakistan 7-1 in the groups, the Indian team was among the favorites for the title. This was an upset for the Indian camp as they will play Pakistan again for the 5th place decider. Malaysia qualified for the World Cup next year in Bhubaneshwar with this victory and will face the World No.1 Argentina in the semis. Argentina has defeated Pakistan 3-1 in their quarter final clash.

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