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India lifts Azlan Shah title after 13 years

Source: PTI
Last updated on: April 12, 2009 19:45 IST
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India regained the Azlan Shah hockey title after a 13-year gap, defeating hosts Malaysia 3-1 in the final of the five-nation tournament in Ipoh, Malaysia, on Sunday.

Arjun Halappa (8th minute), Prabhjot Singh (20th) and Shivender Singh (41st) sounded the board for India through neatly worked-out field goals, while Misron (11th) reduced the margin for the hosts.

Earlier in the day, New Zealand pipped Pakistan 2-1 in a play-off match to secure third place at the Azlan Shah stadium.

High on confidence after the 3-0 win against Malaysia in the round-robin stage, India, who last won the tournament in 1995, started making forays into the rival half from the word go.

The Indian forwards' efforts bore fruit as early as in the eighth minute when Arjun scored a field goal.

The lead was, however, shortlived as Misron drew parity, much to the delight of the home crowd, in 11th minute through a field goal.

Undeterred, the Indian forwards stepped up the attack and started making repeated inroads into the opponent's citadel and eventually regained the lead when Prabhjot scored another field goal nine minutes later.

India went to the breather 2-1 ahead.

The Indians, who last year lost in the final 1-2 at the hands of Argentina, continued to maintain the pressure on the Malaysian defence in the second session as well.

Center-forward Shivender joined the party when it mattered and made it 3-1 just six minutes after the start of the second half.

Trailing 1-3, the hosts tried hard to force their way into the match but the Dilip Tirkey-led Indian defence stood firm and was in no mood to give Malaysia any opportunity of a comeback.

With this victory, India enjoy a 3-0 win-loss record over Malaysia in the event. The Indians last time won against the hosts way back in 1985.

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