Indian men’s hockey team were crowned Asia Cup 2017 Champions as they beat Malaysia 2-0 in the finals at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium, Dhaka on Sunday. Goals from Ramandeep Singh (3′) and Lalit Upadhyay (29′) secured the title for India as Malaysia failed to make an impact on the game in the early stages but came back with a solitary goal through Shahril Saabah (50′).This is India’s third title in the history of Asia Cup. And came after a long wait of ten years. The first two being in Kuala Lumpur (2003) and Chennai (2007) respectively. The decade-long wait also puts India at par with arch-rivals Pakistan, who have also won the title three times. The men in blue are now only behind South Korea, who have won the title four times.
India proved themselves superior since the inauguration of the tournament without losing a single game and beat Pakistan twice in their run-up to the final. During the group stage, India has beaten the arch rivals 3-1 and in the super four-game, India scored four past their much-feared rivals. Pakistan managed to secure the third spot in the tournament.
It was in the 3rd minute that the Indians found a gap in the Malaysian defense when SV Sunil played a pass from the right flank to find Ramandeep Singh inside the circle, who hit the target on his second attempt to give India the all-important lead in the Final. But not ending their scoring saga there, India threatened again at the stroke of half-time. With a long pass which found Lalit Upadhyay inside the circle, who tapped the ball into the net to make it 2-0. Malaysia came back hard in the fourth quarter, scoring a goal in the 50th minute through Shahril Saabah's stick as the Indian defense failed to close out the Malaysian attackers. But the Malaysians could not find the second goal.As India lifted the trophy, Skipper Manpreet Singh said, “Great honour to captain this team. Hockey is a team game and we are a family and this victory was possible because of the teamwork we put in. We are enjoying this victory.”