Malaysia scored a sensational 4-3 victory over India to enter the final for the first time in the men’s hockey competition in the Asian Games at Guangzhou on Tuesday.
By Mr S Thyagarajan
A golden goal by Rahim Muhammad Rahim enabled Malaysia to turn a new chapter in the Games. This was Malaysia’s first win against India in the 11 matches played so far in the Asiad since 1958.
Malaysia will take on Pakistan in the final. Pakistan eliminated South Korea, the defending champion, in the sudden death tie breaker.
India led twice in the match before courting defeat in extra-time. Actually, it was Malaysia that struck first from a solo run by Tenku Abdul Jalil, but India not only scored the equalizer through Sandeep Singh before half-time and scored again through Tushar Khandekar shortly after half-time.
Azlan Misron did a fine deflection to restore parity midway through but Rajpal Singh put India ahead again off a rebound from a penalty corner. Three minutes from the end came India’s anguishing moment when Rahim slammed in a penalty corner to make the score 3-3 and went on to smash the golden goal to create history for Malaysia in the Asian Games.
Pakistan sailed past the defending champion, South Korea, in the sudden death phase when a splendid save by goal-keeper Salman Akbar demolished the dream of a third successive gold medal for the defending champion.
The match, which ended 1-1 after the regulation time, remained score-less in the extra-time, and moved to the inevitable sudden death strokes. Haseem Khan converted to give the fourth goal-third in the tie breaker—but Yew Woon found his disaster in Salman Akbar. Pakistan won on 4-3 in the strokes after sharing two goals in the match.
After that brilliant save Salman went down on his knees even as the Pakistanis surrounded him in a spontaneous expression of ecstacy. Pakistan has come back into the gold medal reckoning after two decades, the last coming in 1990 at Beijing.
The match lacked the pace that one normally expects when the Koreans are on the field. Both teams showed extreme caution. For Pakistan, Zubair, Shafqat and Waqas were prominent in the attack. The defenders led by skipper Zeeshan Ashraff and supported by Muhammad Imran.
Despite all the promptings by Jang Jonghyun from the deep the Korean sallies did not carry the punch to overcome the tenacity of the Pakistani defenders.
The results: Men: (5-8 classifications)
China 4 (Dong Yang, Na Yubo, Liu Yixian 2) beat Bangladesh 1 (Kamaurzzaman) HT 3-0.
Japan 13 (Takahika Yamabori 6, Kenji Kitazato 2,, Kashuhiro Tsubouchi 2, Katsuyoshi Nagasawa 2, Yoshihiro Anai) beat Oman 1 (Basim Rajab) HT 8-0
Pakistan 5 (Waqas Muhammad- TB- Sohail Abbas, Haseem Khan, Shakeel Abbasi-SD-Haseem Khan) beat Korea 4 ( Kang Moonkyu- TB-Nam Hyun Woo, Yeo Woonkoon, Jang Jonghyun)
Malaysia 4 ( Tenku Abdul Jalil, Azlan Misron, Rahim Amin 2, including golden goal) beat India 3 ( Sandeep Singh, Tushar Khandekar, Rajpal Singh) HT 1-1.
Wednesday’s matches: Women:Classification (5-6): Malaysia v Thailand (6-30 a.m.); Bronze medal match: India v Japan (11-30 a.m.); Final (Gold Medal match) China v South Korea (2-30 p.m.)
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