Ramandeep's twin strikes in vain as India lose 2-3 to Malaysia in quarters
India's Harmanpreet Singh (right) tries to get past Malaysia’s Tajuddin Tengku in London yesterday
Malaysia has always been a thorn in Indian hockey team's flesh and so it proved it again. A little over six weeks ago Malaysia beat India in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and denied them a spot in the final and yesterday, they beat India 3-2 to deny them a place in the Hockey World League Semi-Finals. Malaysia for sure have India's number.
In the end, it was India's inability to stem the flow of penalty corners and Malaysia's ability to convert them made the difference. Razie Rahim (19th and 48th) and Tengku Tajuddin (20th) scored for Malaysia, while Ramandeep Singh (24th and 26th) scored for India's but his miss in the final minute will haunt him for a while.
Malaysia entered the semi-finals to earn a clash with World No. 1 Argentina, and also grabbed a place into next year's World Cup in Bhubaneshwar in 2018. It also meant a second India-Pakistan clash for minor places. India have only themselves to blame for this defeat. Malaysia moved 2-0 up within first 20 minutes, but India got back to level matters within six minutes after that.
The teams went goalless in the first quarter, but soon after resumption in second, off their third penalty corner, Rahim scored as his drag flick was deflected by Vikas Dahiya's stick into the roof of the net.
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