India returned to winning ways and top of the Asian Champions Trophy points table with a comprehensive 5-0 win against Malaysia in front of packed stands here at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium on Sunday that saw a far more compact and cohesive team turning up compared to the previous outings.
The result also meant India is all but assured of a semifinal spot in the competition.
It was expected to be a close game but with a more controlled display from the hosts who did not allow space or pace to the Malaysians, who rely on speedy counters and quick breaks down the flanks to get their goals, it was India all the way. Having played attacking hockey so far, Malaysia was hampered by a resolute Indian midfield that kept switching sides and overlapping to keep possession, building up pressure on Malaysia.
Vivek Sagar Prasad, Sumit and Hardik Singh bottled the middle and with Manpreet Singh constantly doubling up for defensive duties, the Malaysian forwards Shello Silverius and Kamal Aby Azrai barely managed to get a shot at the goal. They still stayed true to their structure without panicking but found little space. Jarmanpreet Singh and Jugraj Singh were outstanding at the back with the Indian goalkeepers barely tested.
The Indian forwards also constantly accelerated with the ball and even though there was a lot of wayward shooting too, it was heartening to finally see them go for the shots instead of trying to create penalty corners all the time.
The opener came to rapturous cheering from local boy Selvam Karthi, who smashed in a long Harmanpreet Singh pass from the top of the circle in the 15th minute. Gurjant Singh got the other field goal while Hardik Singh deflected in a rebound, Harmanpreet Singh’s shot deflected off Najmi Jazlan’s stick and Jugraj Singh found the net in the final quarter.
- FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifying format explained: CAF qualifiers, How do African teams qualify for World Cup?
- FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers points table LIVE: CAF standings, South Africa tops Group C, Salah hat-trick helps Egypt lead Group A
- Canada down Jamaica in CONCACAF Nations League quarters
- Miandad and Shoaib Akhtar lash out at PCB for “forcing” Babar to step down from captaincy
- MotoGP Qatar: Jorge Martin wins sprint to cut Bagnaia’s title lead