Conceding last minute goals have continued to haunt India for long now and that’s precisely what the team would look to avoid when it take on its ‘new-found’ nemesis Malaysia in its third league match of the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Tuesday.
After a not-so-convincing 2-0 win over Asian Games gold medallist Japan in the tournament opener, Manpreet Singh and his men conceded a goal in the final minute of the match to draw 1-1 against Korea on Sunday.
India are currently placed third in the six-team standings with four points after a win and a draw. Hosts Malaysia are leading the chart with maximum points after 5-1 and 4-3 wins over Poland and Japan respectively.
Korea are in the second position with four points, same as India, but they are ahead of the eight-time Olympic gold medallists owing to better goal difference.
On Sunday, India were well on course to register their second consecutive win in the tournament after taking the lead in the 28th minute through Mandeep Singh. But a defensive error, just 22 seconds from the final hooter, enabled Jonghyun Jang to score the equaliser from a penalty corner.
And come Tuesday, the Indians can ill afford to repeat similar mistakes, especially against a side like Malaysia, which, in the recent past, have time and again exploited such grey areas to continue to remain a thorn in the flesh for the Blue Sticks.