India win Sultan of Johor Cup

Johor Bahru (Malaysia), Sep 29 (IANS) India defeated Malaysia 3-0 to win the 3rd U-21 Sultan of Johor Cup hockey tournament at the Taman Daya Stadium here Sunday.

With skipper Fitri Saari marked out of the match by Harjeet Singh, Malaysia lacked ideas to penetrate the tight Indian defence.

India thus made up for last year's defeat in the final against Germany where they were beaten 2-3.

Some 15,000 were at the Taman Daya Stadium to watch the match, with thousands glued to their television sets at home.

India had a first look at goal in the fifth minute as Satbir Singh took a snap shot which was well padded away by Mohammed Hafizuddin Othman. India started gaining in confidence as Malaysia relied on counter attacks.

India were awarded a penalty corner in the 13th minute but Amit Rohidass attempt was charged down by Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin and off a quick counter Mohammed Syamim Yusof nearly scored after evading three defenders but sending his shot wide of the post and keeper Harjot Singh was a relieved man.

India took the lead in the 22nd minute after a fine run on the left by Kothajit Singh whose cross came of the stick of Faiz Helmi and fell nicely for Amon Mirash Tirkey to score.

The Malaysian defenders were loose in their marking and that allowed Affan Yusof to move into the semi circle and his reverse stick hit went inches wide.

India forced three consecutive penalty corners in the 35th minute but the Malaysian defenders held firm but paid a heavy price as Muhammad Azri Hassan was yellow carded and Malaysia had to start the second half a man down.

India took advantage of their numerical advantage to force two penalty corners in the 42nd and 45th minutes. And off the second Amit Rohidass drag flick was palmed out by Hafizuddin.

Malaysia got their chance in the 47th minute when they were awarded a penalty corner. But Shahril Saabah was on the bench and a variation was used. Izad Hakimi had a slap shot that was saved by the keeper.

Another penalty corner in the 52nd minute for Malaysia was kept out by India and from a counter attack Ramandeep Singh outwitted Kavin Karthik for a clear run at goal. He relayed the ball to Affan Yusof who scored easily to make it 2-0 for India.

India created several chances to score, their forwards were missing sitters. But skipper Manpreet converted their eight penalty corner in the 64th minute to make it 3-0 and the title was heading to the Indian shores.

Hockey India (HI) announced cash awards for the players. All 18 players will get a cash award of Rs.1,00,000 each and support staff Rs.50,000 each.

Harjit will get additional Rs.100,000 for winning most promising player of the tournament.

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