Lahore : As Japan had managed only a 3-1 win over Bangladesh in their last pool match earlier today,
pressure was somewhat off Pakistan.
The only way they could deprive themselves of the Super Four spot was to lose against India by more than nine goals.
The last match of the pool A in the 10th Hockey Asia Cup at Dhaka’s Maulana Bhashani Stadium saw the two great rivals begin cautiously.
There was no attempt on the goal in the first 12 minutes..
The pace increased and it it turned into a good up and down stuff.
In the 14th minute, India tested Pakistani short stopper Mazhar with a good attempt but Mazhar was up to it.
Then Ali Shan engineered a penalty corner for Pakistan. The injection wasnt stopped.
Very next minute, an excellent Akashdeep cross from left found a rampaging Chinglesana Singh controlling the ball, entering the circle and send the ball crashing into the net- all in the blink of an eye.
Immediately, Pakistan gained their second PC. This time a good rush worked for India.
Both the sides had a couple of good chances in the last five minutes of the first half. Young Attique Arshad went past a defender and his attempt from the top of circle wasn’t much off the target. Attique also had a diving try saved by the advancing goal keeper.
A defensive blunder let Gurjant make a full blooded reverse hander from left side which went out.
Half Time: Pakistan:0 India: 1
33rd and 34th minutes saw yellow cards for Rizwan Sr and Abubakr Mahmood. However, Pakistan didnt let India take advantage during those five minutes. In fact, they had an excellent chance when Ali Shan at a good position on the left side had his push stopped by the net minder.
Soon, India got their first PC. Varun Kumar’s flat push went out.
An excellent 1-2 between Akashdeep and Gurjant culminated with the latter having the goal at his mercy but the attempt was poor and Mazhar padded it.
Then Umar Bhutta’s individual endeavour earned Pakistan their 3rd PC. Abubakr, who scored a PC hat trick against Bangladesh, blasted over the bar.
The last two minutes of the third quarter sealed the match for India.
A wonderful diagonal pass sent by Harmanpreet from the right side in his own half was tipped in by a diving Ramandeep Singh with a fully extended stick from close quarters.
Within seconds, the third goal arrived. Harmanpreet’s missile of the flick off India’s second PC crushed inside the right netting.
When it seemed to be all over for Pakistan, Ali Shan brought a glimmer of hope. Arslan Qadir’ diving ball in the circle reached Ali Shan in an ideal spot in the left side. Ali Shan’s reverse hander hit the board.
With 10 minutes. still to go, Pakistan could have made it 2-3 as another PC came their way. The two touch variation was well executed but the goal keeper positioned himself well.
Attique’s yet another fine attempt was saved by the diving keeper. Then the brilliant Akashdeep was off the radar.
India had three back to back PCs in the dying minutes but the scoreline remained 3-1.
India: Chinglesana Singh (17′), Ramandeep Singh (44′) & Harmanpreet SIngh (45′)
Pakistan: Ali Shan (49′)