Ipoh: Despite India registering a 5-2 victory over Malaysia in the Azlan Shah Cup on Monday, Indian captain Arjun Halappa said that there was a period during the match where the team`s performance was below par and it needs to work on some aspects.
"There is nothing like a comfortable lead in modern-day hockey even when you are ahead 4-1 at half-time," Halappa said after India managed to ward off a determined second-half rally from Malaysia.
India led 4-1 at half-time, but saw Malaysia pull back another goal soon after the interval and goalkeeper Bharat Chetri had to ward off four shots at the goal before India registered their second victory in four outings of the ongoing tournament.
India have drawn one after starting with a loss in the opening game.
"We played poorly in the first 15 minutes of the second half. There are areas on which we need to work harder," said Halappa.
He, however, expressed satisfaction at the turn of events in the competition, after their defeat at the hands of South Korea in the first match where India squandered a 2-0 lead to lose 2-3.
India`s victory today was sweet avenge for the twice defending champions in the tournament, where their only defeat in last year`s event was against hosts Malaysia in a league encounter.
India, who had won the tournament outright in 2009, still managed to make the final in 2010 and emerged joint champions with South Korea after the title encounter was disrupted by heavy showers.
Malaysia had also spoilt the Indian party in the Asian Games, winning through a golden goal in a match where India could not convert their domination into goals.
Malaysia repeatedly bounced back from the arrears to beat India 4-3 in the 2010 Asian Games semifinal at Guangzhou.
"Malaysia have had an edge over us last year. I`m pleased that we have emerged winners in the first encounter this year," said Halappa.
India coach Harendra Singh also said he was happy with the way the team implemented their strategy.
"We`ve been losing a lot. Today the boys gave me a nice present," said Harendra.