DHAKA: India on Sunday ended their 10-year wait for continental triumph when they beat a gutsy Malaysia 2-1 in a nail-biting final to clinch their third Asia Cup hockey title.
India, which won the Asia Cup last time in 2007 in Chennai, scored from field efforts through Ramandeep Singh (3rd minute) and Lalit Upadhyay (29th) to dash Malaysian hopes. Malaysia were in summit clash for the first time since tournament’s inception.
The ever-improving Malaysians, however, fought valiantly and didn’t give up for a single minute. Their efforts bore fruit in the 50th minute when Shahril Saabah pulled one goal back.
The Indians, ranked sixth in the world, were in for nervous last 10 minutes but the defence did enough to hold on to the lead.
Pakistan won the bronze medal after edging out Korea 6-3 in the third-fourth place play-off match earlier in the day.
For India’ new chief coach Marijne Sjoerd, it was perfect start to his stint as the Asia Cup was his maiden tournament in charge of the senior national side.
The top-ranked Indians finished unbeaten in the tournament, having won all their matches except for the 1-1 draw against Korea in the Super 4s stage.
Today’s win was India’s second victory over Malaysia in the tournament, having beaten them 6-2 in the Super 4s stage.
For Malaysia, it was their best result in the tournament. They had earlier won the bronze in the 2007 edition of the event in Chennai.