The Indian U-21s went into their match against hosts Malaysia with restored confidence after a hard-fought 4-3 win against Argentina. The hosts, Malaysia pulled off a shocking upset against giants Australia in their previous match. The young Blue Sticks, despite their status as two-time defending champions, were on their guard against Malaysia making a name for themselves as “Giant Killers”. And the diligence paid off, with India beating a very game Malaysia 2-1.
The first half was an acid-base reaction, with the scoreboard remaining unchanged after 35 minutes. It was a pretty uneventful session, with India being unable to covert a penalty corner in the 3rd minute and its follow on. The Indians had to contend with a Malaysian team that was looking to prove a point to them.
The second half saw India be awarded a penalty corner in the 3rd minute. The follow on PC saw Harmanpreet Singh expertly convert it and put it in the back of the net to give India the lead 1-0. Malaysia’s penalty corner in the 14th minute was fended off by the Indian defense.
In a session that saw a slew of penalty corners, India converted a 22nd minute PC, courtesy of Harmanpreet Singh, to make it 2-0. Malaysia failed to make a conversion in the 25th minute but Shahril Saabah managed to pull one back for his team and make it 2-1, with India still leading. The game ended with the visitors victorious. India’s next game will be a tough one against Australia.