India trounce Malaysia to win Asian Champions Trophy; PM Modi shares 'immense pride'

India fought back from two goals down to pull off a thrilling 4-3 win over Malaysia

PTI08_12_2023_000341A India's Akashdeep Singh celebrates after scoring a goal during the Asian Champions Trophy 2023 final hockey match between India and Malaysia in Chennai | PTI

A spirited India eked out a fighting 4-3 win over Malaysia in the final to clinch the Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament for the fourth time here on Saturday.

Malaysia were aggressive in the first half as the Indians found it difficult to restrict their opponent.

India converted the first PC in the ninth minute, Jugraj scoring with a fierce flick to the right of the Malaysian goalie. The Indians got into their groove as the match progressed and played full-press hockey after the sluggish start.

But Malaysia didn't sit back and continued to test the Indian defence. Their efforts bore fruit in the 14th minute when Abu Kamal Azari found the back of the net after being fed by Azuan Hasan from the right flank.

Seconds from the first quarter, India secured back-to-back penalty corners but wasted both the chances.

Malaysia kept up their tempo in the second quarter and earned consecutive penalty corners in the 18th minute, the second of which was converted by Razie Rahim as the ball went in after getting a deflection from rusher Amit Rohidas' stick.

Malaysia secured a penalty corner for an unnecessary stick check by Jugraj in the 23rd minute but the effort went wide. Malaysia got another penalty corner in the 28th minute and this time Muhamad Aminudin made no mistake to hand his side a 3-1 lead at half-time.

Malaysia earned another penalty corner in the 43rd minute but India defended stoutly.

The Indians turned the match on its head in a span of a minute, pumping in two goals to level the scores 3-3.

While India skipper Harmanpreet Singh scored from a penalty stroke in the 45th minute, seconds later Gurjant Singh found the back of the net from field play to make the scoreline 3-3.

India secured a penalty corner six minutes from the final hooter, but Harmanpreet's flick was saved by the opposition goalkeeper. India kept up the pressure and earned another penalty corner soon, but Harmanpreet's effort went wide. Akashdeep Singh scored the winner for India with a slap stick from top of the 'D' after receiving a pass from Mandeep Singh.

Modi hails team

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday lauded the Indian men's hockey team on its spectacular win in the Asian Championship, saying it showcases the tireless dedication, rigorous training and unyielding determination of the players.

"Congratulations to our Men's Hockey Team on the spectacular victory in the Asian Championship! This is India's 4th triumph and it showcases the tireless dedication, rigorous training and unyielding determination of our players," Modi posted on X.

He added, "Their extraordinary performance has ignited immense pride across the nation. Best wishes to our players for their future endeavours."


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