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Asian Games 2018: India lose to Malaysia in hockey semi-finals, settle for bronze

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Defending champions India suffered a heart-breaking 6-7 (2-2) defeat in the penalty shootouts against Malaysia to be knocked out of the 18th Asian Games semi-finals in Jakarta, on Wednesday.

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It was after the game had ended 2-2 in regulation time that Malaysia trumped 6-7 in the sudden death making it for the second time in eight years that they have knocked India out of the intercontinental event.

India led 2-1 for most of the final quarter and looked assured for a place in the final before conceding a late equaliser two minutes before the final hoot, taking the game to a penalty shootout. Manpreet Singh, Dilpreet Singh, and Sunil failed in the first five attempts before SV Sunil’s costly miss in the sudden death left India stunned, knocking them out of the competition.

Only Akashdeep and Hermanpreet scored for India in the first five shots of the shootouts, while Muhammad Ashari and Fitri Saari netted two for Malaysia. Despite India missing three of their five attempts, it was skipper and goalkeeper PR Sreejesh who kept his side in the game with three saves off Tengku Ahmad, Faizal Saari and Muhammad Azuan.

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Then in the sudden death, while Pakistan scored from all of their five shots, India managed to score the first four before SV Sunil missed.

India, who had scored a record of 76 goals in the group stages, plundering 15+ goals in three of their four matches started confidently and were on the offensive right from the start. They earned a penalty corner in the very first minute but Harmanpreet’s flick was saved by Malaysian goalkeeper Kumar Subramaniam.

Malaysia then scored in the fourth minute from their first penalty corner, but the goal was ruled out for a foul.

Both sides found plenty of space to work the ball around, but were wasteful up-front, with India in particular, guilty of missing four consecutive penalty corners.

After a barren first-half, the deadlock was finally broken in the 33rd minute when Harmanpreet slotted home from India’s sixth penalty corner. Soon Malaysia equalised seven minutes later through a brilliant field goal from Faizal Saari.

India were then reduced to nine men as both Sardar Singh and Surender Kumar went out on receiving yellow cards after Varun Kumar had given India the lead from a Rupinder Pal penalty corner.

But with India two men down, Malaysia went out on an all-out mode eventually finding the important equaliser. They earned two consecutive penalty corners and Razie scored from one.

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