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Asia Cup Men’s Hockey semifinals preview: India Vs Malaysia

Ipoh, Aug 30 (): India leading the Pool B will face host Malaysia in the semifinals to be played at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Stadium here on August 30.

India thrashed Bangladesh 9-1 in the last pool B match to top the table. Malaysia finished second in Pool A. Malaysia downed Japan 4-2 in the last Pool match.

In the Pool matches, India trounced Oman 8-0 in the first match and defending champions South Korea 2-0 in the second match.

India’s penalty corner specialist Rupinderpal Singh and V.R Raghunath scored hat trick goals against Bangladesh in their last pool match. Indian young star Mandeep Singh has netted four goals in two matches. A heroic performance by India vice-captain and goalkeeper PR Sreejesh saved the match for India against South Korea. The stellar Sreejesh behind the defense gained the confidence of defenders VR Raghunath and Rupinder Pal Singh.

The other side Malaysia playing in home ground has a better advantage with the home support. The Malaysian defense was not up to the mark as Japan conceded two goals in the first eight minutes of their Group A match. In pool matches Malaysia lost to Pakistan 1-4.

Indian captain Sardar said “Malaysia is a tough opponent. You cannot predict them … But we are completely focused on our job.  We will have to play against the entire stadium tomorrow as they will have home support behind them.”

India coach Oltmans said, “We converted 60 per cent of our penalty corners and that is a very high rate. I am happy with their (Rupinder and Raghunath) performance. It’s a very good percentage.”

In previous meeting so far India and Malaysia have met 101 times, India has a better margin 70-13 and 18 matches ended in a draw.

Winners of the Asia Cup are assured a place in the 2014 FIH World Cup at The Hague, Netherlands.

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