Goals from Aditya Lalage, Amandeep Lakra and Rohit helped Indian colts decimate hosts Malaysia 3-1 in the Sultan of Johor Cup tournament in Johor Bahru, Malaysia on Saturday. After drawing their opening match against Pakistan, the Uttam Singh-led India junior side was in its elements and took the lead in the 28th minute through Lalage, which was followed by goals from Amandeep (37th) and Rohit (54th) as the defending champions earned three full points. (Hockey News)
India had a confident start with forward Angad Bir Singh leading the charge and working in tandem with Aditya to set up goal-scoring chances.
However, an alert Malaysian goalkeeper Rafaizul Mohamad kept India from taking an early lead.
After a goalless first 10 minutes, Malaysia took the lead with a splendid goal from Suhaimi Irfan Shahmie in the 13th minute.
The first few minutes of the second quarter saw India create chances galore in the circle with Angad winning two back-to-back penalty corners.
However, India were not successful in converting them. India won three more penalty corners as the quarter progressed but the Malaysian defence kept the rivals at bay.
India finally scored the equaliser in the 28th minute when Lalage nudged in a blazing cross from Vishnukant Singh as the first half ended on equal terms.
Malaysia began the third quarter aggressively and were rewarded with a penalty corner. However, the Indian defence held firm and prevented the rivals from taking the lead again.
A minute later, India were quick to get a penalty corner thanks to Uttam and Gurjot's front-row combination, but Amandeep missed the shot. In the 37th minute, Uttam's fine circle skills earned India another PC, and this time Amandeep was on target, powering the flick past Malaysian goalie Rafaizul.
With a 2-1 lead, Uttam continued to exploit the wings, initiating a blazing run down the right wing, picking out Lalage in the centre of the circle, but the keeper was quick to rush out and swat the shot away.
The fourth quarter was dominated by India. Lalage attempted to extend India's lead in the 50th minute with a shot, but Rafaizul saved it. As the quarter progressed, India's attack continued, and they were rewarded when Gurjot Singh won a penalty corner with seven minutes remaining in the game, and Rohit stepped up to double India's lead as they won the game 3-1.
India will take on New Zealand on Monday.