MALAYSIA BEAT INDIA TO MAKE HISTORIC FINAL
GUANGZHOU, Nov 23 (Bernama) -- A golden goal by Muhammad Amin Rahim five minutes into extra time saw Malaysia beat India 4-3 and march into their first ever men''s hockey Asian Games final since 1958. The historic win against the former World champion and the recent Commonwealth Games gold medallist, sent the Malaysian camp into a frenzy and opened a new chapter in Malaysian hockey.
Malaysia came from behind twice against the Indians to tie the match at 3-3 in regulation play, forcing the match into sudden-death extra-time. With the win, the Malaysians who failed to win a medal in Doha four years ago, avenged the 2-3 defeat to India at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games last month.
"The boy''s played very well and we did a great job in defence and the penalty corner conversion. The win was a result of solid teamwork...from the goalkeeper S. Kumar to our forwards," said national coach Stephen Van Huizen.
The thrilling match was also witnessed by Sultan Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, Malaysian Hockey Federation president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and Malaysian chef-de-mission Datuk Zolkples Embong.
Both teams started the match on a cautious note, playing defensively before the Malaysian''s drew first blood through Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abdul Jalil''s 32nd minute strike. India however, equalized just seconds before the first half when Sandeep Singh''s 35th minute penalty corner strike pierced through a stout Malaysian defence. Two minutes after the breather, Khandker Tushar put India in the lead when he flicked home but it was cancelled out by Azlan Misron, 12 minutes later.
Indian skipper Raj Pal Singh put India ahead once again in the 54th minute by converting a penalty corner but with just three minutes left, Muhamad Amin struck a superb penalty corner to force extra time. Malaysia''s best achievement in the Asian Games was bronze medal win in Busan, South Korea in 2002.
In the final on Thursday, Malaysia will meet Pakistan, who defeated defending champion South Korea 4-3 after a penalty shootout.