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India whip Malaysia to clinch colts’ title

Kuala Lumpur: India’s under-19 hockey team beat Malaysia 3-0 to win the four-nation invitational tournament Sunday.

Tushar Khandekar (12th minute), skipper Prabodh Tirkey (33rd) and Vinay (57th) scored the goals. It capped a fine performance by the Indians, who had beaten Pakistan and South Korea earlier.

In the final, India established their supremacy from the start and were rewarded soon as Khandekar slotted home a ball played into a crowded D.

Malaysia, who drew with India in the opening round, tried to come back, particularly after Vivek Gupta was yellow-carded, but failed to breach the Indian defence.

India almost doubled the tally soon after but Hari Prasad missed the target even after beating the goalkeeper after being released down the left.

The let-off for was short-lived as India forced Malaysia on the back foot, and Tirkey scored off a penalty corner to make it 2-0.

Trailing 0-2 at the breather, Malaysia came out a transformed lot in the second session and for the next 25 minutes, the Indian goal was under intense pressure.

But the hosts failed to make count a sequence of three penalty corners and India strengthened their position from a breakaway move as Vinay rammed in a roaring shot to kill the contest.

Indian forward Gurcharan Singh was named man of the match. Tirkey was named Player of the Tournament, while Pakistan’s Yasir Islam won the prize for the most promising player.

“In today’s match our strength was midfield and team play,” said coach Harinder Singh. He said the success will put India in a good frame of mind before the junior Asia Cup to be held in Pakistan next year.

Pakistan took third place, thrashing South Korea 7-0 in the play-off match.

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