India defeated Malaysia 2-1 in the final of the 10th edition of the Asia Cup in Dhaka on Sunday. India thereby won their third Asia Cup title – and first since 2007 – as they banished memories of a painful loss to South Korea in the final four years ago.
Goals from Ramandeep Singh and Lalit Upadhyay were enough to see off a tame Malaysian side, although they pushed hard in the final quarter and were rewarded for their efforts with a goal by Shihril Saabah. However, they could not score any more, which meant their first appearance in an Asia Cup final ended in a loss.
Sjeord Marjine, India’s coach, lined his team up in a 4-3-3 formation as they got off to a flyer, taking the lead within the first two minutes.
SV Sunil’s dribble down the right trickled to Ramandeep Singh, who put India ahead. Ramandeep hit the pole, but he directed the rebound into the net. India were in the ascendancy as they tried to make it 2-0 with Akashdeep Singh’s powerful shot, but it was saved by the Malaysian goalie.
India eventually doubled their lead as midfielder Sumit of the Ranchi Rays skipped past a few Malaysian players before playing it into the path of Lalit, who slid in to make it 2-0 to the Indians.
Malaysia wouldn’t exert significant pressure till the last quarter as Faisal Sarri’s good work down the right laid it off to Shihril, who converted it to set up a nervy ending to the match.
India held on well as they went on to tie Pakistan for the second highest number of Asia Cup titles, with their third after 2003 and 2007. Only South Korea, with four, have more titles.