India vs Malaysia: As it happened
It was 1-0 India, then 1-1, 2-1 Malaysia, 3-1 Malaysia, 3-2 Malaysia, 3-3 India and finally 4-3 India; but the hockey that Chennai saw in the final on Saturday from the point Malaysia led 3-1 is how India introduced themselves once again to the world as the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists for a reason.
The ‘Men in Blue’ wore the Asian Champions Trophy crown once again to become the toast of the country, and the emotion that hockey manages to invoke in the country was felt once again.
Chennai couldn’t have asked for a better finale to mark the return of international hockey to Tamil Nadu.
Jugraj Singh (9th minute), Harmanpreet Singh (45th), Gurjant Singh (45th) and Akashdeep Singh (56th) got on the scoresheet for India, while Abu Kamal Azrai (14th), Rahim Razie (18th) and Muhamad Aminudin (18th) were the Malaysian goal-scorers.
When nervous faces in the stands felt it was getting a bit too late for a comeback, the 9000-strong crowd decided to join each other and cheer ‘India, India’ in unison to get behind their team. It worked, and how!
ACT champions over the years
|India & Pakistan (Joint Winners)
The 45th minute included 30 seconds of magic that first saw an inspired India counter ending in a push on Sukhjeet Singh from behind, which gave India a penalty stroke that Harmanpreet scored off, and then Gurjant’s field effort off another turnover put India level at 3-3 to mark the end of the third quarter.
The DJ joined in to further fire up the crowd and the Indian team during the two-minute break, and the stands shook when the fans sang the famous AR Rahman number ‘maa tujhe salam’ in one voice.
Four minutes 30 seconds from full-time, Akashdeep Singh showed his experience when he pounced onto a ball in the striking circle and deposited it in the net, leading to a deafening roar that never lost its decibels until the final whistle.
More to follow…