Nikkin Thimmaiah netted the ball in for two times and Rupinder Pal Singh and Akashdeep Singh scored one goal each as they helped India beat Malaysia 4-2 in Melbourne on Thursday. This is the first win for India in the Four Nations Hockey tournament.
India came into this match on the back of a loss which they faced against World No 1, Australian Hockey team, on Wednesday. Against Malaysia, India played out a tight first quarter before taking the lead in the 24th minute through Thimmaiah, who found space on the edge of the circle to put an unstoppable shot past Malaysian goalkeeper, Kumar.
The architect of the goal was Sardar Singh whose trap was dodgy in the middle, but he had the vision to bisect the Malaysian defence and find Nikkin Thimmaiah. Nikkin did the rest, as after dodging the Malaysian defence, he fired the ball in past Malaysian goalkeeper. Goal came in second quarter of the game and India went into the third quarter with a lead of one goal.
Malaysia bounced back in the third quarter with an equaliser as they capitalised on Penalty corner and Faizal Saari found the net with a good shot. Indian defence ran with a funnel formation but Saari hit it just to the right and Indian goalkeeper Chitke had no chance to save that.
Malaysia’s comeback was then ruined by Rupinder Pal who fired in from a penalty corner a minute later to restore India’s lead. It was a penalty corner for India which was neatly taken by Sardar and Rupinder Pal Singh found the top left of the goal and made it 2-1 on the scoreboard.It was the same story in fourth quarter as Malaysia once again equalised in the beginning of final quarter and this goal also came from the Penalty Corner. Shahril Saabah was the man behind the goal.
India once again fought back to restore their lead and in the 55th minute, Akashdeep Singh snatched possession before setting up for Thimmaiah who ran with pace, beat the defenders on top of the circle and then the goalkeeper to made it 3-2. It was the second goal for Thimmaiah and third for India, in this game. This time India made sure that Malaysia didn’t bounce back as a minute after Nikkin Thimmaiah’s goal, Akashdeep scored to seal the win for India.
India will next face New Zealand on November 26 at 11:30 AM IST