Indian juniors pip Malaysia to win Youth Olympic Qualifiers

India’s junior men’s team held its nerves to beat Malaysia 2-1 in the shootout to win the Youth Olympic Games Qualifiers on Saturday.

The victory will give India a chance to participate in the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Buenos Aires in August. The tournament was played in new Hockey 5’s format.   -  REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE (THE HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVES)

India’s junior men’s team held its nerves to beat Malaysia 2-1 in the shootout to win the Youth Olympic Games Qualifiers on Saturday.

The victory will give India a chance to participate in the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Buenos Aires in August. The tournament was played in new Hockey 5’s format.

In the women’s final, India, led by Salima Tete, lost 1-4 to China as it ended its campaign as runner-up.

In the men’s final, India was locked 4-4 after regulation time. Malaysia made the first breakthrough after Mohamad Anuar scored in the 11th minute but India upped its ante in attack as they struck an equalizer in the 12th minute through Rahul Kumar Rajbhar.

Later, skipper Vivek Sagar Prasad fetched India 2-1 lead with his scintillating goal in the 14th minute. Muhammad Moharam, however, equalised the score to 2-2 soon after in the 15th minute.

India again scored in the 18th and 20th minute through Prasad and Rajbhar respectively taking 4-2 lead. However, defensive lapses saw them concede two goals in the 26th and 30th minutes in the final quarter to end the regulation time at 4-4.

In the shootout, however, India scored through Rabichandra Moirangthem and Rajbhar while Prashant Chauhan did well to keep the Malaysian attackers from converting as India pulled off a thrilling victory.

In the women’s final, China dominated the proceedings with a 4-0 lead in the first quarter of the match. Goals were scored by Liu Chencheng (3rd, 4th), Zou Meirong (4th) and Ma Ning (8th) that dented India’s chances.

Though Chetna scored India’s lone goal in the 16th minute, it could not muster a winner, thus finishing as runner-up.

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