India defeated hosts Malaysia 3-2 to put their campaign back on track in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Monday.
India played a brisk game in a fast-paced encounter and led from the start but had to ward off Malaysias determined fightback in the dying moments of the game. Indias defence faced some anxious moments early on as goalkeeper Bharat Chetri first came out to block a shot from Tengku Ahmad in the second minute and then blocked a penalty corner shot by Shahrun Nabil in the sixth minute. Two minutes later,young Malaysian striker Faisal Saari missed a sitter by flicking wide of an open goal after his initial push rebounded off the Indian custodians pads.
After the initial burst,Malaysia were at the receiving end as India produced two goals in the space of two minutes to take charge of the game. Danish Mujtaba deflected in Sarwanjit Singhs shot on to the boards in the 10th minute and then Shivendra Singh sent a scorching grounder into the boards from top of the circle in the next minute after failing to stop the penalty corner push.
Malaysia came close to reducing the lead in the 30th minute,but India captain Chetri brought off fine saves. Malaysia pulled back four minutes into second half when Muhammad Amin converted their second penalty corner,but India scored at the other end within a minute to make it 3-1 as Tushar Khandker capitalised on a rebound from the goalkeeper.
Malaysia were finally rewarded when Fitri Saari dribbled into the circle and unleashed a diagonal shot which Chetri tried to stop but only managed to deflect into the net. The Malaysians forced three penalty corners in six minutes but the Indian defenders held their ground.
India coach Michael Nobbs said his team was showing signs of improvement and the win against Malaysia would put their campaign back on track. In the days other games,favourites Great Britain lost 2-3 to Argentina and South Korea beat Pakistan 4-0.