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Demoralised India look to bounce back against Malaysia


Ipoh (Malaysia): Still winless after two outings, a demoralised India would be desperate to get their Azlan Shah Cup hockey campaign back on track with a positive result against a spirited Malaysia in their third league match, here tomorrow.

Under new chief coach Paul van Ass, India are still searching for their first win in the tournament following a 1-1 draw against Korea in their opener and then a 1-2 loss at the hands of New Zealand yesterday at the Azlan Shah Stadium.

But Malaysia, who are three ranks below India (9) in the world rankings, have shown in their 2-3 loss against world champions Australia that they are a tough nut to crack.

To add to it, Malaysia will have the home support behind them and it remains to be seen how the Indian sticks cope up with the pressure.

It is not that India played badly in the last two matches. In fact, they dominated the possession and were more creative on the turf but what did them in was their forwards inability to convert chances into goals and the fragile backline, which succumbed under pressure.

The Indians created plenty of scoring opportunities in the last two games but the strikers, especially Ramandeep Singh failed to deliver results.

With one goal apiece, Akashdeep and Nikkin’s performance can be termed as satisfactory but Ramandeep has been a complete let down as he missed easy chances in both the matches.

India’s problems have been compounded by the injury to young striker Mandeep Singh, who twisted his ankle against Korea and sat out of yesterday’s game. He has swelling in his ankle and might take a few more days to recover.

The backline continues to be a bane for India and it yet again came to the fore when they conceded a late goal, courtesy some sloppy defending to hand New Zealand a win yesterday.

Despite enjoying better possession and ball control, India paid the price for letting their guard down when put under under the pump.

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