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2015 M HWLSF: Indian men in the semis WHL (7/2/2015)
--s2h Team
India reaches Semi-Final of the FINTRO World Hockey League Semi-Final 2015

Antwerp (Belgium), 01 July 2015: Continuing their impressive performance, India Men team outplayed Malaysia by 3-2 in the Quarter-Final match of the ongoing FINTRO World Hockey League Semi-Final 2015, held in Antwerp, Belgium today. Trailing by 1-2 at one time, Indians snatched the victory from the FIH Rank # 12 team and reached the Semi-Final of the tournament.

In the first quarter of the match, Indian team started their campaign with repeated attacks and put an early pressure to the Malaysia team. Indians managed to play the ball in their opponent’s half. Indians got their first success in the 3rd minute of the match when forward player Akashdeep Singh attacked from the right side and dribbled past the defenders before hitting it across the goal-box. Young Satbir Singh, who was standing near the left goal-post, just deflected the shot and sent the ball into the nets to score their first goal in the match. After conceding the goal in the first few minutes, Malaysian players counter-attached on the Indian side and tried to create some chances. In the 15th minute, Malaysia managed to earn their second penalty corner, which was converted by Malaysian skipper Razie Rahim into the equaliser and took the score-line to 1-1 by the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, both the teams stepped on the green astro-turf with more aggression and fought harder to take the lead. Indians attacked from all sides and penetrated into Malaysian half many occasions and looked for opportunities to score goals. In the 23rd minute, Malaysia charged back and managed to earn another penalty corner. Shahril Saabah effectively converted into a brilliant goal and helped his team to take 2-1 lead. After this goal, Indians played with more zeal and maintained the attacking game-plan. They managed to play the ball again in the opponent’s half and earned few penalty corners. But they failed to materialise the opportunities and eventually the second quarter finished at 1-2.

The third quarter started with intense battle from both sides. Indians continued their attacking strategies and maintained ball possession in their side. Indian midfielder, led by skipper Sardar Singh, Chinglensana Singh Lalit Upadhyay, Gurbaj Singh and Dharamvir Singh, dominated the midfield and kept the opponents busy. In defence, Indian defenders, led by Bikram Lakra, Manpreet Singh, Devindar Sunil Walmiki, Jasjit Singh Kular and Vice-Captain & goal-keeper PR Sreejesh, restricted every attacked from the opponent. After series of attacks and counter-attacks, both the teams could not add another goal in their kitty and the third quarter finished at 2-1 in favour of Malaysia.

In the fourth quarter, India played fiercely as they had the last chance to level the score. In the first few minutes, India earned two back-to-back penalty corners and in the second attempt in the 49th minute, young Jasjit scored a spectacular goal to equalise the score by 2-2. After levelling the score, Indians were looking for the winning goal and they continuously attacked on the opponent half. On the other side, Malaysians counter attacked many times but all their aggressive attacks were spoiled by PR Sreejesh, who stood like a wall in front of the goal-box. I the 56th minute, India earned a crucial penalty corner and Jasjit again successfully converted it into a winning goal, taking the score-card to 3-2. Malaysians fought back and managed to earn their last penalty corner in the dying moments. But the world-class goal-keeper PR Sreejesh defended his den firmly and helped his team to win the match by 3-2 at the final whistle.

India will play Semi-Final on the 3rd July 2015 against Belgiu. The matches will be telecast LIVE on Star Sports 1.

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