India regained the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup after a gap of 13 years--last won in 1995--with a 3-1 victory over Malaysia on Sunday. India led 2-1 at half-time.
By S. Thyagarajan
Before a goodly crowd, the Indian forwards showed their proficiency in unmistakable terms unlike in the earlier matches where Sandeep Singh had to score from penalty corners.
Smothering the initial spell of attacks from Malaysia, the Indians settled down to a rhythm. Arjun Halappa hoisted the lead but that was not neutralised from a strike by Aslam Misron.
Midway through India went into the lead again when Prabhjot Singh struck. Early in the second half, India got its third goal from Shivendra Singh who scored off a pass from Halappa.
New Zealand retained the bronze it won last year against Pakistan by the odd goal in three. All the goals surfaced in the first session. Richard Patherick produced a tricky carpet drive to bemuse goalkeeper Ahmed Nasir. Within minutes, New Zealand courted success with Joel Baker hitting the target. Close on half time, Shakeel Abbasi scored from a penalty corner sequence.
The results: (3-4) New Zealand 2 ( Richard Patherick, Joel Baker) beat Pakistan 1 ( Shakeel Abbasi) HT 2-1; FINAL: India 3 ( Arjun Halappa, Prabhjot Singh, Shivendra Singh) beat Malaysia 1 ( Aslam Misron)
Player of the tournament: Sandeep Singh (India), Man of the final: Arjun Halappa (India); Best Goal-keeper: Kumar Subramaniam (Malaysia); Top goal scorer: Sandeep Singh (7 goals); Fair Play: New Zealand.
FINAL POSITIONS: 1. India, 2. Malaysia 3. New Zealand 4. Pakistan 5. Egypt.
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