India will take on Malaysia in a do-or-die match to secure a final berth in their final league fixture of the 25th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Ipoh, Malaysia, on Friday. The last time India played in a final was in 2010, when they ended up as joint champions with South Korea after the final was abandoned due to a downpour. To make the final this time, India, who have nine points, must beat Malaysia because New Zealand, who have completed their fixtures, are now second with 11 points.
India, who have been unimpressive so far, except for the 5-1 victory over Pakistan, need to pull off a victory against Malaysia to ensure their place in the final match of the tournament, which they have won five times and were bronze medalists last year. The Malaysia need to defeat India by seven goals to earn a place in the final. A victory over India will enable Malaysia to equal New Zealand’s points tally as well as the goal-difference, but the home team will be ahead in goals scored. Otherwise, they can only aspire for a bronze medal.
The last time India and Malaysia met, India shattered Malaysia’s hopes of qualifying for the Rio Olympics by prevailing 3-2 in last year’s World League Semi-Finals in Antwerp, Belgium. India are the only Asian team to have qualified for the Rio Games.
Australia top the group with 15 points, followed by New Zealand on 11, India on 9 and Malaysia on 8 points.
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