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HWL 2015 M QF1 M: Indian men clash with Asian riva (7/1/2015)
--s2h Team
HWL 2015 QF1: Indian men clash with Asian rival Malaysia

New Delhi, 30th June 2015: India men face Asian rival Malaysia in the Quarter-final of the World Hockey League Semi-Final 2015 at Anwerp today.

Despite an all familiar Australian bite, Sardar Singh led India is all geared up to face the Malaysian challenge to seek their appointed place in the semis.

Injury prone Indian team, which had missed out two best defenders it had and also a forward, is fielding a new combination, while Malaysia, which gave a good account of themselves in the Round 2, is brimming with confidence against some really good performance in Antwerp.

This year, India lost to Malaysia with a solitary goal margin (3-2) while in the crucial World Cup encounter its India that overcame Malaysians with the same score.

Indian forwards need to work hard to score goals as Malaysian goalie Veteran Jamaluddin, who replaced sorrow stricken Kumar Subramaniam is shwong vast improvement after each match.

The Indian attack will be dependent on forward player Ramandeep Singh, who is showcasing his high-class finishing skills in the tournament. With four field goals, he is among top four goal-scorers in the tournament and the opposition tomorrow cannot afford to ignore his moves during the match.

India’s midfield, led by skipper Sardar Singh, showed a new zeal in them as they effectively keeping ball possession and created effective opportunities for the team to score. Gurbaj Singh, who played his 200th international match on 28th June during the league match against Australia, along with Chinglensana Singh, Dharamvir Singh and young Lalit Upadhyay have been playing a important role in defending as well as supporting the attack.

Indians need to restrict their three best players - Muhammad Shamsul, Razie Rahim and Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin – who have a history of surprising their opponents and have scored two goals each in their Pool B league matches. Riding on them, Malaysia outplayed China and stunned Ireland to finish at third position in their Pool.

Speaking after a practice session, Captain Sardar Singh said, “The Quarter-Final will be tougher and all the teams will enhance their strategies to qualify for Semi-Finals. Our plans for the quarter-final are ready and now we have to implement the strategies on the field. We are not taking Malaysia lightly as they have the ability to perform at the highest level. We will play as per our strategies of all attacks and try to score maximum goals in the first two quarters to put them in pressure”.

Commenting on tomorrow’s match against Malaysia, Chief Coach Paul van Ass said, “Malaysia is a good team and they are among the top four teams of Asia, so there is no point of taking the match easily. We are focussing on match by match and preparing for each team differently. We will stick on to our 10-on-10 strategy and attack with full force. Malaysia recently defeated India, so we have to perform better than them and reach the Semi-Final. Our players are in good shape and in-form, they just have to continue their performance. We are looking forward to the match and determined to reach the Semi-Final.”

India will face Malaysia in their Quarter-Final match of the FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final 2015 at 21:30 IST today (The 1st July 2015). The matches will be telecast LIVE on Star Sports 1.

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