First win for India, Australia storm into semis

First win for India, Australia storm into semis

Akashdeep Singh scored two goals in the space of three minutes to set up India’s 3-2 victory over Malaysia in the Men’s Hockey World Cup here on Saturday.

Jasjit Singh Kular opened the scoring for India in the 13th minute and Malaysia equalised in the 45th minute through a penalty corner conversion from Mohammad Razie before Akashdeep got into the goal-scoring act, helping his team post its first win of the tournament.

Akashdeep first applied the finishing touch to Rupinder Pal Singh’s fine run on a counter-attack by deflecting in a diagonal cross into the goal in the 49th minute. Two minutes later, he picked up a pass from captain Sardar Singh inside the circle and slammed the ball past the desperate goalkeeper.

Malaysia reduced the lead in the 61st minute when Marhan Jalil fired in on a rebound from Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh on a breakaway move.

The victory gives India four points from as many matches in Group A, and ensures that it would not face the ignominy of being the bottom-placed team in the pool.
 Irrespective of the result of India’s last group match -- against defending champions Australia -- they will finish either in the fourth or fifth spot.

A combination of results in the last league outings for India, Spain and Malaysia would have bearing on the final group standings. Spain will play Malaysia in their last league outing.

Malaysia have lost all four matches, while Spain have two draws from four games. A victory for Malaysia could pave the way for India to finish fourth in the group and play the play-off for the seventh and eighth spots.

India first got into the Malaysian circle in the eighth minute when Rupinder moved up and sent the ball from top of the circle toward Mandeep Singh, but a defender had no difficulty in clearing it. 

Malaysia forced their first penalty corner in the next minute following a raid down the left flank, but Razie’s shot posed no threat as it was padded away by custodian Sreejesh.

India started sustained attack thereafter and went into the lead by opening the scoring in the 13th minute following their first penalty corner.

India had a number of other scoring chances, but did not convert them into goals and went into half-time with a 1-0 lead.

Malaysia drew level on a penalty corner conversion by Razie 10 minutes into the second half.

Akashdeep’s first goal came following a Malaysian penalty corner, when the ball was snatched by Rupinder and he charged up to rattle the Malaysian defence in the 49th minute.

Sardar created the third Indian goal two minutes later as he ran down the centre and sent in a through ball which Akashdeep capitalised again.


Results: Men: India: 3 (Jasjit Singh Kular 15th, Akashdeep Singh 49th, 51st) bt Malaysia: 2 (Razle Abd Rahim 46th, Marhan Jaili 61st).

Belgium: 5 (Tanguy Cosyns 13th, 38th, Alexandre de Saedeleer 16th, Emmanuel Stockbroekx 34th, John-John Dohmen 47) bt Spain: 2 (Eduard Tubau 58th, Santi Frex 66th).

Women: Korea: 4 (Eunbl Cheon 12th, 61st, Mihyun Park 49th, 55th) bt Belgium: 2 (Jill Boon 15th, Alix Gernlers 39th).; 

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