Asian Champions Trophy 2023: India beat Malaysia to be crowned champions
The Men in Blue produced a remarkable turnaround to bounce back from two goals behind.
The Indian men’s hockey team defeated Malaysia 4-3 in a high-octane Final to lift the Asian Champions Trophy 2023 on Saturday here at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium in Egmore. Taking their Asian Champions Trophy titles to a grand total of four, India becomes the most successful team in the history of the tournament.
Jugraj Singh (9′), Harmanpreet Singh (45′), Gurjant Singh (45′) and Akashdeep Singh (56′) scored in India’s victory. For Malaysia, Abu Kamal Azrai (14′), Razie Rahim (18′) and Aminudin Muhamad (28′) scored to keep them in title hunt.
There was plenty of action in the first quarter with both teams living up to the billing, producing thrilling hockey. India, who came into the Final after a convincing 5-0 win against Japan in the Semi Final, was quick to take a 1-0 lead when Jugraj Singh flicked at lightning speed to the left corner. But a spirited Malaysian attack were quick to respond when Azuan Hasan tackled Indian defenders in the right flank to enter the circle. His attempt on goal needed a faint deflection by Abu Kamal Azrai to put it past the Indian goalie.
With scores levelled, the second quarter was exhilarating. Malaysia shifted gears, to put India under the pump with as many as two goals in this quarter. Their second goal came off a PC in the 18th minute, through a combined effort by trapper Shello Silverius and flicker Razie Rahim. The Malaysians stunned the local spectators with a third goal in the 28th minute when Muhamad Aminudin scored from a fine PC.
Ahead by two goals at half-time, India was under pressure, and they needed to pull off a miracle to bounce back. Though the Indian side began the quarter with a PC, a goal remained elusive until the 45th minute. On a counter attack, India’s forward Sukhjeet Singh is tripped in the circle – resulting in a penalty stroke for India.
The Skipper made no mistake in converting it and closing the gap to 2-3. Only seconds later, much to the cheer of home crowd, India levelled the score to 3-3. It was Harmanpreet setting up Gurjant Singh who got a perfect tap into the goalpost.
It was a befitting Final, with the match going down to the wire – albeit with a lot of tense moments for the hockey fans. Though both teams created several chances in the last moments, it was India who held their nerves. The winning goal came from experienced Akashdeep Singh.
Sukhjeet Singh who win the ball high on the pitch, played it to Mandeep Singh who in turn set up Akashdeep. His trademark big hit from the top of the circle in the 56th minute meant the team only had to defend the 4-3 lead for the next four minutes and they did just that.
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Hockey India announces cash awards
Announcing the cash prize of Rs 3.00 lakhs to each member of the Indian men’s hockey team and Rs 1.50 lakh to the Support Staff, Hockey India President Padma Shri Dr. Dilip Tirkey said, “As a former hockey player, I truly believe that a victory in hockey is more than just a win on the field; it is a testament to the dedication and teamwork that fuels our passion.
“As we commemorate the Indian men’s hockey team’s magnificent victory at the Asian Champions Trophy 2023, Hockey India takes great pride in honouring their prowess with a cash award of Rs 3.00 lakh for players and Rs 1.50 lakh to the Support Staff, whose tireless efforts contribute to this success.”
Echoing the sentiments of the President, Hockey India Secretary General Shri Bhola Nath Singh said, “Firstly, I would like to take a moment to congratulate the Indian men’s hockey team on their exceptional performance in the Asian Champions Trophy 2023. I hope that these rewards will act as a catalyst for our players ahead of the crucial Asian Games, igniting a renewed spirit and propelling them to greatness in the future.”
Young Player of the Match – Karthi Selvam.
Hero Player of the Match – Hardik Singh
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