The Indian hockey team comfortably cruised into the Super 4s after dominating the likes of Japan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. However, the first match of the Super 4s was a completely different story. Sure, India kept their unbeaten streak, but they were held to a 1-1 draw against South Korea. The next match is Malaysia vs India, at 5:30pm. Their confidence took a slight beating because of the previous game. A last minute Gurjant Singh strike spared them the blushes against South Korea. The counter attacking Koreans defended fiercely and didn’t let India reach their top form in the game.
India should be wary of Malaysia employing a similar tactic. For them, a win in this game is very important. India had a huge share of possession and numerous scoring chances but only one ball could breach the Korean defense.
Malaysia were the top scorers in group stage being one ahead of India with 16 goals. The Indian defence need to prepare for the striking partnership of Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin and Faizal Saari who scored 63% of Malaysian goals in the group stages. The Malaysian team will be high on confidence on the back of a 3-2 win against Pakistan in Super 4 and 2-1 win against South Korea in group stage. They overthrew Pakistan’s lead twice in the same game to register their 3 goals. The top 2 teams from the Super 4 will qualify for the finals and the battle to the finals will be tougher past every game.
The Indian trio of Ramandeep Singh, Harmanpreet Singh and SV Sunil will be a match-long threat to the Malaysian goal. The Indian team has scored a total of 15 field goals in the group stages itself with the trio accounting for 67% of those goals.
It will be interesting to see if coach Marijne’s revelations will work against the best team of the tournament so far. Penalty corners continue to remain the issue of concern for India as they were no good at them against South Korea as well. India really need to up the ante in case of corners in order to register a win against Malaysia. A victory here would almost guarantee India a place in the finals with South Korea, Malaysia and Pakistan left hanging to fight for one spot.
The two teams have met on 5 occasions with India winning 4 encounters and drawing once. The 2 teams first met in the 1994 Asia Cup Super 4s where India won 3-2. In 1999, the 2 met twice, drawing 1-1 the first time in the group stage and India winning 4-2 in the battle for 3rd. The two didn’t meet in 2003 as Malaysia didn’t make it beyond the group stage. In 2007, India and Malaysia both qualified but didn’t meet each other. India failed to qualify during the 2009 Asia cup. Malaysia and India picked up their rivalry in 2013 where India emerged victorious. The Indian Hockey team do have a chance of topping as South Korea and Pakistan have drawn with each other.
So, Malaysia vs India? Who will win this matchup? place your wagers.