Asian Champions Trophy: India script epic comeback to defeat Malaysia for fourth title
13 August, 2023 | Anupam Shrivastava
In the final quarter, Malaysia sought to regain the lead, but India took control, with Akashdeep Singh scoring the winning goal in the 56th minute to secure victory.
The Indian men’s hockey team demonstrated remarkable resilience and orchestrated a thrilling comeback, triumphing over Malaysia with a score of 4-3 in the final match of the Asian Champions Trophy at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium in Chennai. This victory secured their fourth Asian Champions Trophy title, marking a significant achievement for the team.
The early moments of the match witnessed Malaysia taking control and dictating the tempo of the game. However, India’s Akashdeep swiftly intercepted the ball, initiating a swift counterattack and setting the tone for the match. As Malaysia attempted to launch an attack from the left side, India’s strong defense, led by Harmanpreet, effectively thwarted their efforts.
As the game progressed, Vivek Prasad emerged as a key player in India’s defense. During a crucial moment, Malaysia’s Saari aimed to infiltrate the Indian circle after a fluid buildup play on the right flank. Vivek’s timely interception and subsequent counterattack from the right flank proved pivotal, shifting the momentum back in India’s favor. This sequence of events ultimately led to Selvam Karthi being fouled and earned India a valuable penalty corner.
Jugraj, capitalizing on this opportunity, delivered a remarkable drag flick, propelling the ball past the Malaysian custodian and defenders. His goal in the ninth minute marked a strong start for India and energized the team.
However, Malaysia responded swiftly, with Arzai equalizing the score in the 14th minute after Hasan’s pass was deflected. The first quarter concluded with the scoreboard reading 1-1, showcasing the tightly contested nature of the match.
The second quarter saw Malaysia gaining momentum and leveraging their penalty corner opportunities to their advantage. Razie Rahim’s goal in the 18th minute, followed by Aminudin Muhamad’s drag-flick goal just two minutes before halftime, put Malaysia ahead by 3-1. India found themselves trailing by two goals for the first time in the competition.
Undeterred by the setback, India entered the third quarter with renewed intensity. The team displayed their determination to chase the game and turn the tide in their favor. Malaysia, however, stood firm, denying India significant opportunities and thwarting their efforts to equalize the score.
As the game continued, India’s Sukhjeet Singh made a remarkable run, drawing a foul from a Malaysian defender. This earned India a penalty shot, which captain Harmanpreet Singh skillfully converted to reduce the gap.
The final moments of the match were marked by intense action, as Harmanpreet Singh played a pivotal role once again. With just 30 seconds left on the clock, Harmanpreet’s precise pass set the stage for Karthi Selvam inside the circle. The well-coordinated move culminated in Gurjant Singh’s goal, leveling the score at 3-3.
Entering the last quarter, Malaysia adjusted their strategy, attempting to regain the lead. However, it was India that managed to seize the upper hand. In the 56th minute, Akashdeep Singh delivered the winning goal, turning the tables in India’s favor and securing their victory.
Adding to Malaysia’s challenge, Hasan Azuan received a five-minute ban, leaving them with 10 players for the crucial final minutes of the match. As the clock wound down, India sought to capitalize on their momentum and extend their lead, but the final score stood at 4-3, firmly establishing India as the victors of the Asian Champions Trophy.