Penalty corner conversion rate in focus as India take on Malaysia

Three-time champions India would look to work on their penalty corner conversion rate when they take on Malaysia in their next Asian Champions Trophy match on Sunday. India struggled visibly when it came to penalty corner conversion rate against Japan on Friday at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium here.

The Indians earned as many as 15 penalty corners but converted just one despite having a potent force in skipper Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas and Jugraj Singh.

India were lethal with their penalty corners in the 7-2 win over China in their opening match as six of the goals were scored through set pieces.

However, it was a complete contrast in the 1-1 draw against Japan on Friday.

Harmanpreet converted one of the 15 penalty corners India had secured in the hard-fought draw against Japan.

Also Read: `Every coach`s concern`: Fulton on missed penalty corner chances against Japan

India`s chief coach Craig Fulton is visibly concerned but said the team is not far from attaining its full finishing potential.

“It`s every coach`s concern if you are not converting your chances, whether corners or field goals,” he said.

“It`s not that we are not playing in our system. We are playing the way we want to play, and even tonight (Friday), we had two-three really good counters. We are one phase away from finishing the way we want to,” he had said after the Japan draw.

India`s over-reliance on extracting corners is also a matter of concern, as during the game against Japan, the players were seen refraining from going for field goals from inside the box.

Therefore, Harmanpreet has a task at hand to ensure that the team utilises clear scoring opportunities to the fullest and not be selfish in terms of earning enough penalty corners.

“We will try to attack the areas that gave us goals in the opening game (vs China). We would also try something new,” Harmanpreet had said. Next for India is Malaysia, a team which has surprised all with their performance, having trounced Pakistan (3-1) and China (5-1) in their opening two contests.

Malaysia would be riding high on confidence after being at the top of the table.

Also, with Firhan Ashari being the top goal-scorer in the tournament so far, scoring four goals and all of them coming through field goals, the Indian defence will have a tough time. 

(With agency inputs)

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