What's the Story
India defeated Malaysia in the final of the 2017 Hero Asia Cup to win their third title. Throughout this tournament, India were undefeated, albeit being held for a draw against South Korea.
The final on Sunday began on a good note for India but Malaysia pushed the team until the final minute. India scored in the second minute of the game and later in the 29th minute in the 2-1 win over Malaysia.
The runners-up pulled one back in the 49th minute but could not find the equaliser till the end of the match. Ramandeep Singh and Lalit Upadhyay were the goal scorers for India, who won the Asia Cup title for the third time and the first time since 2007.
In Case You Didn't Know
India were on a winning streak during the entire tournament as they defeated Japan, Pakistan twice, hosts Bangladesh, and Malaysia, also twice. The only blip in their near-pristine record was a 1-1 draw against defending champions South Korea.
The Heart of the Matter
Pakistan and India are now level with the number of Asia Cup tournament wins, having won with 3 apiece. South Korea are still the most successful team with 4 Asia cup wins to their name. Pakistan had won in 1982, 1985 and 1989. In all 3 of those occasions, India finished as the runners up.
India's Asia Cup gold rush began in 2003 in Kuala Lumpur. They defended their title in 2007 in Chennai against Pakistan and South Korea respectively. Out of 10 finals, India have failed to make an appearance in just 2.
It was only on one occasion, in 2009 that India were not in the Super 4s. The same statistic goes for Pakistan as well, in 2007.
The next tournament for the hockey side will be Bhubaneswar, where the Men's Hockey World League Final will take place next year. South Korea, who finished fourth in the Hockey Asia Cup, have failed to qualify for the World Cup finals, as only winning the Asia Cup title could have secured their qualification.
With the male Indian hockey players performing so well, it will only be a matter of time before India catches South Korea and maybe even overtake them in the future.