12 Apr : India regained the Azlan Shah hockey title after a 13-year gap, defeating hosts Malaysia 3-1 in the finals of the five-nation tournament in Ipoh (Malaysia) on Sunday.
Arjun Halappa (8th minute), Prabhjot Singh (20th) and Shivender Singh (41st) sounded the board for India through neatly worked out field goals, while Misron (11th) reduced the margin for the hosts.Earlier in the day, New Zealand pipped Pakistan 2-1 in a play-off match to secure the third spot at the Azlan Shah Stadium.
High on confidence after their 3-0 win against Malaysia during the round-robin stage, India, who last won the tournament in 1995, started making forays into the rival half from the word go.
The Indian forwards’ efforts bore fruit as early as in the eighth minute of the match when Arjun scored a field goal to give India the lead.The lead was, however, shortlived as Misron drew parity, much to the delight of the home crowd, in 11th minute through a field goal.
Undeterred, the Indian forwards stepped up the attack and started making repeated inroads into their opponent’s citadel and eventually managed to regain the lead when Prabhjot scored through another field goal nine minutes later to go into the breather 2-1.
The Indians, who last year lost in the finals 1-2 at the hands of Argentina, continued to maintain the pressure on the Pakistani defence in the second session as well.
Center-forward Shivender joined the party when it mattered and made it 3-1 just six minutes after the start of the second half.Trailing 1-3, the hosts tried hard to force their way into the match but the veteran Dilip Tirkey-led Indian defence stood firm and seemed in no mood to give Malaysia any opportunity of a comeback.
With this victory, India enjoy a 3-0 win-loss record over Malaysia in the event. The Indians last time won against the hosts way back in 1985.
PM congratulates hockey team for winning Azlan Shah Cup
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday congratulated the Indian hockey team for winning the Azlan Shah Cup tournament and hoped that the triumph would help revive the game in the country.
The Sandeep Singh-led Indian hockey team defeated hosts Malaysia 3-1 in the final of the five-nation tournament to regain the title after a gap of 13 years.
In a message, Dr Singh wished the Indian hockey players further success and hoped it would be a step towards reviving the golden era of Indian hockey.
India, who finished as the runner-up in the previous edition, last won the tournament in 1995.