In­dia Out­play Malaysia 6-1 to En­ter Azlan Shah Cup Fi­nal

The Economic Times - - Sports -

In the ti­tle clash to­day, the Men in Blue face the un­beaten Aus­tralians I ndia pro­duced a n i nspi ri ng per­for­mance to out­play hosts Malaysi a 6 -1 i n a must-wi n match and se­cure their seventh ap­pear­ance in the fi­nal of the Sul­tan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tour­na­ment, in Ipoh, Malaysia on Fri­day.

Need­ing a vic­tory in their last round-robin league fix­ture to qual­ify for Sun­day’s ti­tle clash, five-time win­ners In­dia stamped t hei r aut horit y on t he hosts to f i nish a head of de­fendi ng cham­pi­ons New Zealand in the stand­ings.

In­dia’s op­po­nents in the ti­tle en­cou nter on Sat u rday wi l l be reign­ing world cham­pi­ons Aus­tralia, who to­day pre­vailed 3-0 over Canada to com­plete an all-win record in the pre­lim­i­nary league. Aus­tralia fin­ished with the max­i­mum 18 points from six out­ings, fol­lowed by In­dia on 12 points and New Zealand on 11 points.

Aus­tralia have won this ti­tle a record eight times and were los­ing fi­nal­ists to the Black Sticks last year, when In­dia earned a bronze.

S V Su­nil (2nd minute), Har­jeet Singh (7th), Ramandeep Singh (25th and 39th), Dan­ish Mu­jtaba ( 2 7t h) a nd Ta lwi nder Si ngh (50th) scored for In­dia, while Shahril Saabah (46th) scored a con­so­la­tion goal for Malaysia.

I n d i a’ s last ap­pear­ance in the fi­nal o f t he A z l a n Shah Cup was in 2 010, when they shared t he tit le with S out h Kor e a a f t e r t or r e nt i a l s hower s flooded the ground. Watch­ing the In­dia-Malaysia con­test from the sideslines were New Zealand, who will now face hosts Malaysia for the bronze me d a l me d a l o n S a t u r d ay. Malaysia f i nished fou r t h a fter fail­ing to add to their eight points to­day. Malaysia needed a seven-goal vic­tory to edge ahead of New Zealand in the stand­ings, but they went out seek­ing to avenge their loss to In­dia in the Hockey World League Semi­fi­nals that cost them qual­i­fi­ca­tions for the Olympic Games.

Malaysia’s last vic­tory over In­dia was in last year’s Sul­tan Azlan Shah Cup here, when the home side posted a 3-2 vic­tory in a league match. Pleased with his wards, coach Roe­lant Olt­mans said he is hope­ful of giv­ing world cham­pi­ons Aus­tralia a keen con­test in the fi­nal on Satur­day.

"I’m pleased to see the en­ergy of the boys. That’s what you want to see as a coach," said Olt­mans, who had set a tar­get of fin­ish­ing among the medal­ists in the tour­na­ment. "The fi­nals are al­ways spe­cial. I want to test and see what our boys will do to­mor­row," said Olt­mans.

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