India qualified for the 2014 hockey World Cup even before playing their semi-final match vs Malaysia. But that didn't stop them from scoring a dominant 2-0 win over the hosts to storm into the Asia Cup final. (Catch all the highlights from India vs Malaysia tie)
Earlier, Asia Cup defending champions South Korea did India a favour by knocking out Pakistan 2-1 in the other semis. The loss meant Pakistan failed to qualify for the hockey World Cup for the first time in 42 years.
India got on the scoresheet early at the Sultan Azlah Shah stadium, with VR Raghunath converting the team's first penalty corner to put India up 1-0 in the 8th minute in the second semi-final.
The hosts were desperate to hit back but India's defence overall was impressive. India's goalkeeper and vice-captain PR Sreejesh was once again brilliant.
India got their 2nd penalty corner in the 32nd minute, but Rupinderpal's flick was saved by the Malaysian goal-keeper S Kumar. The teams took half-time break with India leading 1-0.
Post the break, the Malaysians understandably were the more anxious, snatching a penalty corner in the 47th minute. However, a diving Sreejesh ensured the scoreline remained 1-0.
It became 2-0 thirteen minutes later, with Ramandeep drawing the Malaysian keeper out, before sending a delightful pass to Mandeep who found the back of the Malaysian goal.
Malaysia threw everything at the Indian goal post that but the Indian defence did not disappoint. Overall, the hosts had a total of nine shots at goal as compared to India's seven.
And that's how the scoreline stayed. Consolation for the Malaysians is the fact that they have qualified for the FIH World Cup too. However, for India there's a possible double delight in store. They have already qualified for the World Cup and a win versus defending champions South Korea on Sunday will give them their third Asia Cup title.
Story first published on: Friday, 30 August 2013 21:21 IST