V. Baskaran: Losing in this manner makes me sad

Former hockey players V. Baskaran and Adam Sinclair expressed their disappointment at India's defeat against Malaysia in the men's hockey semifinal.

India's team wait during the penalty shootout at their men's hockey semi-final match against Malaysia at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta.   -  AP

After the goal glut in league games - India hammered 76 in five matches - which saw it top the Group A, India on Thursday went down to Malaysia in a gripping men's semifinal clash at the Asian Games.

This means India, the defending Asian Games champions, will take on Pakistan for the bronze medal play-off.

V. Baskaran, captain of the 1980 Olympic gold-winning team in Moscow, said, "it is a huge disappointment. After all the planning and working out the strategies, if you are not going to win, it's a waste.

"As a former India coach, I blame Sardar Singh and Surender Kumar for getting yellow cards at crucial stages of the match. To concede a goal in the last minute (dying minutes of the fourth quarter) is unacceptable. I maintain it's a good team, but to lose in this manner makes me sad."

Adam Sinclair, former India player who represented the country at the 2004 Athens Olympics, said the defeat was hard to digest given how well the team had prepared.

"Luck factor, too, plays a part. At this level, all the top four teams are equal. It is how you perform on a given day. Hats off to the [Indian] boys who played well in all the previous matches.

"They now have to focus on the forthcoming tournaments. If the [Indian] team had lost 0-3, then you can say 'it is bad'. I think the boys put up a good show," Sinclair said.