Merdeka Tournament: Malaysia end India's campaign with 4-2 victory in semifinal

Kuala Lumpur | October 14, 2023 3:46:43 AM IST
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India's Merdeka Tournament campaign ended in disappointment as they went down to host Malaysia 2-4 in the semi-final at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium here on Friday.

Following this victory, Malaysia will now take on Tajikistan in the final of the cup which will be played on October 17.

India were looking to bounce back after crashing out in the 19th Asian Games Round of 16 stage with a 2-0 defeat to Saudi Arabia.

In a match that involved a few controversial refereeing decisions, which included the cancellation of a 'goal' scored by India, the visitors found themselves trailing 1-3 at the half time.

Mahesh Singh Naorem's staggering strike in the 13th minute of the game brought the game back to parity after Malaysia drew the first blood inside the opening 10 minutes of the game.

The hosts once again found themselves in the lead after Arif Amin struck the second goal in the 20th minute from a penalty kick.

Malaysia doubled the lead following Faisal Halim striking the back of the net in the final minutes before the end of the first half.

The Malaysian frontline dug deep as they continued to rip open India's defensive structure to find the net three times in the first 45 minutes and leave the visitors in a dire situation.

India made a strong comeback in the second half to reduce the deficit with skipper Sunil Chhetri making his place on the scoresheet.

However, their hopes of making a comeback suffered a setback when the referee, refused to accept Lallianzuala Chhangte's shot had crossed the line in the 56th minute of the game.

In the television replay, it appeared that the ball went a few inches well over the goalline, but the referee and the assistant referee decided to rule out the goal, leaving the Indians absolutely astonished.

Still wounded by the referee's decision, India were caught off guard as Malaysia struck their fourth goal in the 61st minute through La'vere Corbin-Ong putting the final nail in the coffin.

Even after suffering a defeat, India's first goal which was scored by Mahesh Singh Naorem's goal was a work of magic.

On the other hand, India once again struggled while defending as once again they conceded a penalty which allowed the opposition to take advantage of them. They were also made to pay for a lacklustre defensive performance in the first half. (ANI