India men’s hockey team notched their second win on the trot at the Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2018 in Gold Coast after beating a lower-ranked Malaysia 2-1 in a draining Pool B encounter. The win took the India through to the semifinals.
Drag flick specialist Harmanpreet Singh (3rd minute and 44th minute) scored twice from penalty corners to take India towards the winning line. Faizal Saari (16th minute) had equalised for Malaysia in the second quarter.
India had a mediocre day as far as converting the penalty corners is concerned with two being converted of the nine won. The first arrived within the two minutes of the start and Harmanpreet converted to give the team an early advantage.
The Malaysians claimed one of their own penalty corners in the sixth minute but Razie Rahim missed out on the opportunity to equalise. However, Malaysia did not have to wait too long to put themselves on the scoreboard as Faizal Saari sounded the board with a field goal in the 16th minute.
India had an opportunity to regain the lead but Varun Kumar failed to convert a penalty corner, hitting it wide in the 18th minute.
In the 22nd minute, Mandeep Singh came close to scoring but his attempt was saved by Malaysian goalkeeper Hairi Abd Rahman.
PR Sreejesh produced a strong performance to thwart the Malaysian onslaught in the second half, including two penalty corner saves.
India had a chance to consolidate the lead but Harmanpreet missed out on completing a hat-trick when his penalty corner attempt was saved by Rahman in the 58th minute.
“We are happy to be on the winning side. I think the team has improved since our first match against Pakistan. Though there are still certain areas we must get better with, this win will give the team a good momentum for the next match,” stated India coach Sjoerd Marijne.
India will now take on England in the final group game on Wednesday. “Again, it’s not about the opponents but our own game. I am yet to see this team come up with a 7/10 performance in this tournament. If each of them manage to play their role to perfection, I am confident of a good show against England,” Marijne stated.