Johor Bahru, Malaysia, 16 October 2014: Indian Junior Men Hockey team defeated hosts Malaysia 4-2 in their fourth pool match of the 4th Sultan of Johor Cup being played at Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Bahru, Malaysia to keep themselves in race for the finals against Great Britain.
Great Britain sealed their berth in final with 5-1 win against Australia making 4 wins from 4 matches. New Zealand defeated Pakistan 3-2 in the other match for the day.
The match between hosts and India, commenced at a slow pace as neither of the teams, in spite of their continued attacking efforts, were able to score. It was in the 25th minute that India earned a penalty corner and Sumit perfectly converted that opportunity into the first goal of the match, giving India a lead of 1-0. A quick goal followed in succession when Gurinder Singh of India swiftly utilized the penalty corner awarded and the ball sailed past the Malaysian keeper into the net. Malaysia earned a penalty corner twice during the initial half but failed to convert them. The score stood at 2-0 at the end of half time, giving the visiting team a reason to rejoice.
However, the second half saw a change of course as Muhd Rohulami scored the first goal for Malaysia in the 37th minute and Azril Misron posted another field goal in the 42nd minute, leveling the goal tally and signaling a vital comeback of the hosts into the game. Alarmed at the quick progression of the opponents, India fought hard to retaliate when they gained a penalty corner. Harmanpreet Singh took the strike and converted the opportunity into a goal, taking the score to 3-2, regaining the lead for India. In the 65th minute Varun Kumar made no mistake in converting a penalty stroke into a goal for India, doubling the score for India.
At the end of the game, the scores were 4-2, sealing a hard-earned win for India.
Commenting on the win, Coach Harendra Singh said, “I am extremely pleased to see the way the boys have performed today. Starting off well, they conceded two quick goals in the second half but did not allow pressure to take hold of them and remained calm. This composure helped the boys to make a brilliant comeback, the result of which is this well-deserved win for them. I am proud of the way they handled the stressful situation and look forward to similar performances in future.”
India will now take on Australia in their fifth and last pool match on 18 October 2014 at 13:35 hrs (IST) and the match will be telecasted live on Star Sports 1.