Asian Games 2018: India suffer heartbreaking loss to Malaysia in a thrilling semi-final
The Indian men’s hockey team suffered a heartbreak, losing to Malaysia in the first semi-finals of the Asian Games 2018 tournament played at Jakarta, Indonesia on Thursday. It was a great match, with India having the lead till the end but a great fightback from the Malaysian team saw them through.
The first quarter saw India earning a penalty corner in the 2nd minute itself but Harmanpreet Singh's shot went wide off the target which took deflection from the goalkeeper's stick. In the 5th minute, Malaysia earned their first penalty corner as Firhan scored the goal.
But the Indian team asked for a review and the umpire had to change his decision as it hit the Malaysian striker's foot. It was brilliant hockey from both teams then onwards. India earned their 2nd penalty corner after that but did not get the shot right. Both teams had their chances for penalty corners but could not convert. At the end of the first quarter, the scores remained 0-0.
The 2nd quarter began well for the Malaysian team as they earned a penalty corner but Sreejesh saved a brilliant goal. The Indian team attacked but the Malaysian defence was solid. Both teams tried their best to score goals but they were not able to do it. At the end of first half, the scores still remained 0-0.
It was a great display of hockey by both teams in the third quarter. India earned a penalty corner in the 33rd minute and Harmanpreet Singh converted a penalty corner into goal to give India a 1-0 lead.
Malaysia continued their aggressive intent and their great combination, as Fitri scored a goal to level the score at 1-1 in the 40th minute. Few seconds later, India earned a penalty corner, which was converted by Varun Kumar to give India a 2-1 lead. At the end of the 3rd quarter, India led 2-1.
In the 4th and final quarter, Malaysia put pressure on the Indian defence with relentless pressure. They earned multiple penalty corners but could not convert them into goals. In the 59th minute, Malaysia Rahim scored from penalty corner to level the scores at 2-2, which remained until the end of regulation time.
For India, Manpreet Singh, SV Sunil, Dilpreet Singh failed to score a goal while Akashdeep Singh and Harmanpreet Singh scored. P Sreejesh also saved brilliant goals. The match went into sudden death where it was 6-6 before SV Sunil missed the shot. India lost the semi-finals by 6-7.
They will next face Pakistan in the bronze medal match on September 1.