India defeat hosts Malaysia 3-1 in Sultan of Johor Cup hockey tournament

Johor Bahru (Malaysia): Indian Colts registered a stunning 3-1 victory against hosts Malaysia in the 11th Sultan of Johor Cup 2023 after goals from Aditya Lalage (28’), Amandeep Lakra (37’) and Rohit (54’). Meanwhile, Suhaimi Irfan Shahmie (13′) scored the lone goal for Malaysia. After this win, India sit on top of Pool B in the table.

After their opening game ended in a nail-biting 3-3 draw against Pakistan, India looked to bag the elusive three points with a confident start in the first quarter. Forward Angad Bir Singh led India’s charge in the forwardline, working in tandem with Aditya to set up goal-scoring chances. But an alert Malaysian goalie Rafaizul Mohamad kept India from taking a lead. While the first ten minutes went by goalless, it was hosts Malaysia, which broke the deadlock after a splendid goal by Suhaimi Irfan Shahmie in the 13th minute.

The first few minutes of the second quarter saw India create chances in the circle with Angad winning two back-to-back PCs. However, it went in vain as India were not successful in converting them. India won three more PCs as the quarter progressed but a resolute Malaysian defence kept India at bay. India’s breakthrough finally came in the 28th minute when Aditya Lalage nudged in a blazing cross from Vishnukant Singh to score the equalizer as the 1st half ended in a tie.

Malaysia began the third quarter aggressively and were rewarded with a PC. However, the Indian defence held firm and prevented Malaysia from scoring again. The following minute, India were quick to get a PC thanks to Skipper Uttam Singh and Gurjot’s front-row combination, but Amandeep Lakra missed the shot. In the 37th minute, Uttam’s fine circle skills earned India another PC, and this time Lakra was on point, powering the flick past Malaysian goalie Rafaizul. With a 2-1 lead, Uttam continued to exploit the wings, initiating a blazing run down the right wing, picking out Aditya Lalage in the centre of the circle, but the keeper was quick to rush out and swat the shot away.

The fourth quarter was dominated by India. Aditya attempted to extend India’s lead in the 50th minute with a shot, but Rafaizul saved it. As the quarter progressed, India’s attack continued, and they were rewarded when Gurjot Singh won a penalty corner with seven minutes remaining in the game, and Rohit stepped up to double India’s lead as they won the game 3-1.