Johor Bahru (Malaysia), Oct 15 (IANS) The India junior men’s hockey team continued its winning form as it edged past hosts Malaysia 2-1 in their fourth league match of the Sultan of Johor Cup here on Thursday.
India earlier defeated Argentina. On Thursday, they dominated the match and penalty corner specialist Harmanpreet Singh’s (41st, 56th minute) two conversions helped India to earn three more points. Malaysia scored in the 68th minute.
With 9 points, defending champions India now lead the points-table, ahead of Great Britain (8) and Argentina (7).
India’s forward-line managed to put pressure on the opponents from the very first minute. Forwards Arman Qureshi, Sumit Kumar, Gurjant Singh, Parvinder Singh and Ajay Yadav were always a threat. Arman, Sumit and Gurjant kept the defenders busy with their short passes and tried hard to penetrate the goal-box.
After a series of attacks, India earned two penalty corners in a short span but both were saved by Malaysian goal-keeper Ridzwan Azmi. The first-half finished goalless.
India’s midfield were more intense after half-time and tried to penetrate into the Malaysian circle with their long passes. Skipper Harjeet Singh led the midfielders pack, consisting of Santa Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Simranjeet Singh and Manpreet, and attacked the opponents from both the flanks.
In the 41st minute, India earned a crucial penalty corner and drag-flicker Harmanpreet converted it successfully into the first goal of the match. Conceding a goal, the Malaysians counter-attacked and earned a penalty corner, which was perfectly thwarted by Indian custodian Suraj Karkera.
Indians charged back and earned two more penalty corners. Harmanpreet converted the second penalty corner ro make it 2-0 in the 56th minute.
Both teams tried to score and and in the 68th minute Malaysia managed to earn a penalty corner, which was converted into their lone goal by Shahril Saabah. India, though the setback, held on to claim the game.