Wasteful India held to goalless draw by Malaysia in Asian Champions Trophy
Defending champions India were held to a goalless draw by Malaysia in their Asian Champions Trophy encounter in Muscat, Oman on Wednesday.
Despite the draw, India remains in pole position in the points table, via a superior goal-difference, while Asian Games silver medallist Malaysia, who also have 10 points from four matches are second in the table.
Facing Malaysia for the first time ever since their Asian Games semi-final exit against the same opponents, India had a nervy start but were still guilty of wasting several chances to score in the early minutes.
Hardik Singh wasted the first of them, while India’s nest two best chances, one from a Harmanpreet Singh penalty corner was blocked by the Malaysian goalkeeper and in the second Mandeep Singh failed to get a touch on a long diagonal ball.
With India playing aggressively, Malaysia were left to mostly defend and their only opportunity arrived from a counter-attack that produced nothing.
Malaysia defended deep and after seeing India make too many forward runs into their box, their defenders narrowed the gap not allowing the Indian strikers much space from the second quarter.
But India still had two glorious chances from penalty-corners, disappointingly both of them were wayward shots and out of target. That came at a time when Malaysia were down to 10 men after Tengku Tajuddin was shown a yellow card for a deliberate foul on India skipper Manpreet Singh.
Their failure to take chances and close down the match was disappointing for India coach Harendra Singh. “I am not happy. We cannot miss chances like this in international hockey,” Singh was quoted as saying by PTI.
Malaysia coach Roelant Oltmans, however, was satisfied with the performance other than the time they were down to 10 men. “We came under some pressure in the last phase after the yellow card,” said Oltmans. “Otherwise, the game was more or less what we expected.”
India next faces Korea in their fifth round-robin match late on Wednesday.
Image Source: Oman Times