Unbeaten India eye history against Malaysia in final of Asian Champions Trophy

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CHENNAI: Team India will be eyeing history when they take on Malaysia in the final of the ongoing Asian Champions Trophy on Saturday, hoping to become the most successful team in the tournament’s history with four titles after beating their opponents at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium in Chennai. The final will take place at 8:30 pm as per Indian Standard Time, as per Olympics.com.

India have been unbeaten in the tournament so far, finishing at the top of the table. They secured wins against China, Malaysia, South Korea and arch-rivals Pakistan while drawing one against Japan. In the semis, they defeated Japan 5-0 to make it to the final. Japan is the reigning Asian Games champion team in men’s hockey.

Malaysia, the ninth-ranked side, finished second on the points table, with their loss to India being the only low point. In the semis, they thrashed defending champions Korea by 6-2 to make it to their first-ever final.

India will be playing their fifth final in seven appearances in the tournament, having won against Pakistan on two occasions in 2011 and 2016, sharing the trophy with their arch-rival in 2018. They are the joint most successful team in the tournament along with Pakistan, which has also clinched three titles.

Drag-flick specialist captain Harmanpreet Singh has led Team India from the front, with eight goals, the highest in the tournament. Malaysia’s top-scorer Firhan Ashari has scored four goals.

India has put on an attacking masterclass in this tournament with 25 goals in the tournament, the most by a team. 15 of them have come through penalty corners, which is also the most by a team. Malaysia has scored 18 goals, with six coming through penalty corners.

India has conceded only five goals, the lowest in the tournament, which speaks volumes about their defence. Malaysia has also conceded only eight goals so their defence is also really hard to breach.

Both teams have locked horns in the Olympics a total of four times. India has been unbeatable at the grandest stage of them all, having won all the matches. They have squared off in 12 Asian Games matches. India has won 10 matches and lost one, drawn one. This also includes a 4-1 win in the bronze medal match at the 1986 games.

India and Malaysia have locked horns in four World Cup matches, with India winning three and Malaysia getting one win. India has played nine matches against Malaysia in Asia Cup, winning seven, drawing two. This includes beating them in the finals of the 2017 edition of the tournament.

Both teams have locked horns in six Asian Champions Trophy matches. India has won three, lost one and drawn two. They thrashed Malaysia 5-0 in their latest meeting in the tournament recently. Both teams have played each other four times in CWG, with India winning two, losing one and drawing one game.

Across every tournament/bilateral series to ever exist, India and Malaysia have played 124 times. India has emerged victorious 86 times and lost 17 times. The rest of the 21 matches have ended in a draw. Before this match, South Korea and Japan will play a match to determine the third-place holder. (ANI)

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