Striker scores twice as India beat Malaysia 3-2 in HWL quarters
Antwerp: India edged past a spirited Malaysia 3-2 in the quarter-finals of the Fintro Hockey World League at the KHC Dragons Stadium here yesterday.
India's Jasjit Singh
A field goal by Satbir Singh early in the game and then two penalty corner conversions by Jasjit Singh in the last quarter did the job for India. They were Jasjit's first two international goals off drag flicks, while Razie Rahim and Shahril Saabah got the goals for Malaysia through penalty corners.
On a day, which was said to be the hottest in Belgium since 1954, as temperatures soared above 34 degrees Celsius, the mercury rose by another five to six degrees on the pitch as the two teams battled hard for a place in the last four. It was a win achieved the hard way, as the harsh sun beating down hurt both teams who refused to give each other an inch.
"It was a hard game, but we are pleased with the way Jasjit converted those two penalty corners. That was crucial," said skipper Sardar Singh moments after the match. Jasjit, the man of the day for India, was ecstatic. "It was a very close game and we are happy to get to the semi-finals where we await the winners of Belgium and France," he said.
India survived a tense last 40 seconds as they gave away a penalty corner, which they contested with a referral, but lost. Malaysia failed to score though and a few seconds later India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh brought off another great save with less than 15 seconds to go. The semi-finals will be played on Friday with World Champions Australia taking on Great Britain in the first semi-final.