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India beat Malaysia to win Asia Cup final
March 23 2018, 01:34 | Perry Erickson
India players congratulate Akashdeep Singh after he scored their opening goal. Image courtesy Neeraj Tiwari
The Asian champions automatically qualify for the 2018 Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India. This is the third time India has lifted the Asia Cup.
With the day's feat, last time runners-up India finished top in the four-team super league securing highest seven points while Pakistan were in the bottom of the list with only one point, playing three matches each.
India regained control of the game again and won two penalty corners which failed to find the target before Akashdeep Singh was brilliantly denied by Malaysia goalkeeper Subramaniam Kumar in the 26th minute.
Lalit Upadhyay doubled India's advantage as he scored a superb field goal in the 29th minute. India were off to a flyer as SV Sunil and Ramandeep Singh combined to give India an early lead in the third minute. The Malaysian goalkeeper also joined the attack in the dying moments but they could not break the Indian defence and had to be content with the runners-up trophy - their best ever finish in this continental competition. Shahril Saabah scored the lone goal for Malaysia in the final. The Indian team showed some resolute defending in the last five minutes to keep their 2-1 lead intact. The scoreline could have been even more for India had their players converted the numerous chances that came across during the final. "We are enjoying [the moment], also it is Satbir Singh, one of our teammate's birthday today - and it's a sweet win to mark his birthday too". "India rejoices at this stupendous victory", the Prime Minister said.
India, with this Asia Cup win, have justified their favourites tag. "It was a close contest and I am happy how they played".