Ipoh: A relieved coach of the Indian men's hockey team, Michael Nobbs, praised vice captain Sardar Singh for the team's hard-fought 3-2 win over Malaysia that kept the visitors in hunt to qualify for the championship match at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
"As always, Sardar Singh played an outstanding game and he could even have scored from a penalty corner hit towards the end," Nobbs said. Sardar stepped up to take the penalty corner shot when the specialist drag-flickers were not on the pitch. Sardar's reverse drive struck the horizontal.
India played without a penalty-corner shooter when Sandeep Singh was sent off in the 64th minute. But they were prepared to defend without one and Sandeep stepped back on the turf with only a minute remaining.
Nobbs felt that two yellow cards to the Indian players - first Kothajit Singh and then Sandeep were extremely hard, which put additional pressure on the Indian defence late in the second session. "The yellow cards were very harsh, but we managed to survive," he said.
Nobbs complimented the young Malaysian team for putting up a very good contest. Malaysia, who have included seven members of the recent Junior Asia Cup champion team, kept up the pressure on the Indians and twice reduced the lead. "Malaysia played very well. Their juniors did an exceptional job and fought hard," he said.