India thump Malaysia 4-1 to win bronze at Four Nations hockey tournament
Goals from Akashdeep SIngh, VR Raghunath, Talwinder Singh and Rupinder Singh helped India beat Malaysia 4-1 in the Bronze medal play-off match at the Four Nations Invitational Tournament, here on Saturday. India dominated the game from start to finish, scoring twice in the final quarter to earn a much deserved victory.
Shrugging off yesterday’s disappointment when they went down 2-3 against New Zealand, India were the dominant force and scored in the second minute itself when Akashdeep deflected in a cross put into the circle by Birendra Lakra. The cross evaded everyone, before falling to Akashdeep Singh lurking at the far post.
India kept control throughout the quarter and had several more chances, including four consecutive penalty corners right at the death but the Malaysians defended stoutly to go into the first break 0-1.
India started the second half from where they had left it in the first with Affan Yousuf coming closest to double the lead. He went past three Malaysian defenders and unleashed a reverse hit towards the goal but Malaysia’s goalkeeper Kumar Subramiam was up to the challenge and patted it away. Malaysia tried to build some pressure towards the end of the quarter but despite chances, they failed to put the ball behind the net.
The third quarter was more of a balanced encounter between the two sides as India went for the kill and Malaysia tried to earn an equaliser. However, despite several circle penetrations, neither team created any real chances. It was only in the final minute though, that India went 2-0 up through VR Raghunath who neatly converted a penalty corner. But as it had been throughout the quarter, Malaysia equalised soon after the restart as the teams headed towards the final quarter with India leading 2-1.
India piled on the pressure in the final quarter and pressed high from the very beginning. It soon paid dividends as Talwinder Singh scored India’s third goal in the 52nd minute after Akashdeep cut back a pass to him before dribbling past the Malaysian defence. Six minutes later, India earned a penalty corner and Rupinder made no mistake to send the ball in the bottom right corner to seal India’s victory.