India lose 2-3 against Malaysia, crash out of HWL

Rani Rampal will lead the 18-member Indian women's hockey squad in Hockey World League semi final

Malaysia qualified for the 2018 Men's Hockey World Cup in India after securing a hard-fought 3-2 win over the latter in the quarter-final match at the Hockey World League Semifinal Round in London, United Kingdom on Thursday. A minute later, Tengku Tajuddin doubled the score with another successful PC conversion.

Spain relentlessly attacked and went on to score two more goals via Lola Riera on the 31st and 36th minute, bringing the score up to 3-1.

Hockey India (HI) on Wednesday announced an 18-member women squad for the Hockey World League (HWL) Semi Final, to be held between July 8 to 23 in Johannesburg. It also meant a second India-Pakistan clash for minor places.

The Indians only have themselves to blame as a below-par opening 20 minutes and some sloppy defending ruined their hopes.

Malaysia started out strong as they raked in their first goal at the third minute when Siti Noor Amarina Ruhani converted a penalty corner.

The Indian fans were stunned into silence in the 48th minute when Razie executed a fine drag-flick on the sixth penalty corner to breach the Indian defence and give Malaysia the 3-2 lead to which they grimly hung on until the hooter.

Meanwhile, Argentina has remained undefeated in the competition so far.

They might have nothing other than pride to play for, unlike both opponents they will face in their last matches, but India must leave London with a statement that they can maintain good form beyond just the preliminary stages in global events.

Barring Ramandeep and Akshdeep, no other striker could excel and the duo would look for more support from the likes of Mandeep Singh, Talwinder Singh and SV Sunil. The idea was to pass the ball around quickly, not allowing the Malaysians to settle. Razie Rahim, who opened Malaysia's scoring in the 19th minute, told HT: "It is a dream come true".

While for the Indian team a loss would be disastrous after such a convincing win in the pool stage and it will raise question marks over Coach Oltmans and his team's progress in the last one year.

After the change of ends, India continued to dominate and earned two penalty corners in quick succession but Harmanpreet Singh failed to deliver. Malaysia, in contrast, managed seven penalty corners and 12 shots using their speed on the counter-attacks.

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