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. Jasjit Singh Kular opened the scoring for India in the 13th minute and Malaysia equalised in the 45th with a penalty corner conversion by Mohammad Razie before Akashdeep got into the goal-scoring act, which helped his team post its first win of the tournament.
Akashdeep first applied the finishing touch to Rupinder Pal Singh fine run on a counter-attack by deflecting in a diagonal cross into the boards 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 P R Sreejesh on a breakaway move.
India wasted several scoring opportunities, but also had to depend on their defenders to keep out the dangerous Malaysian raids in the closing stages.
The victory gives India four points from as many matches in Group A. They face defending champions Australia next. Australia became the first team to ensure passage into the semifinals with a 5-0 hammering of England.
Elsewhere, hosts Holland beat Germany by a solitary goal to complicate the Olympic champions’ chances of making the last four. Dutch striker Jeroen Hertzberger capitalized on a pass from Billy Bakker in the 23rd minute to score the all-important goal in the Group B match last evening.