Jakarta : India and Pakistan were everyone’s favourites to play the final of the Asian Games hockey after the pool matches.
Both had won all their five pool games with big margins.
But they perished in the semi finals. India lost to Malaysia who Pakistan had beaten 4-1 in the
pool while Pakistan went down to Japan who India had trounced 8-0.
Hence, the two bigs of Asian Hockey met in the bronze medal game.
Still the Indo-Pak encounter is always anticipated by the hockey lovers all over the world and today’s match lived up to the billing.
India completely dominated the first period. Combining beautifully, they rattled the Pakistani defence
and repeatedly entered the circle. In the third minute, some clumsy Pakistani defending resulted in ball reaching unmarked Akashdeep in right side of mid circle whose rasping diagonal shot thundered into the top of the net.
India had other opportunities but couldnt add to the score. Pakistan’s only attempt at the goal saw Atiq hitting the post.
Pakistan appeared a completely transformed side in the first eight minutes of the second period. But failed to capatilise on three open play chances and two penalty corners. It evened out in later stages.
Half Time: India led 1-0
The jam packed stadium continued to enjoy the entertaining play.
It was an up and down stuff during the third period.
Opportunities arrived for both the sides but the scoreline remained intact.
Off India’s first penalty corner in the 50th minute, Harmanpreet Singh made it 2-0 with a powerful low flick hitting the left corner of the tin.
Pakistanis fought back magnificently and were able to reduce the margin within two minutes.
A quick passing move from the right side saw skipper Rizwan Sr, well inside circle’s right side, sending a parallel pass to Atiq Arshad standing unmarked in front of the goal. Atiq easily put it in.
Looking for the equaliser, Pakistan threw players up front and also withdrew goal keeper for an outfielder. India found gaps and thrice entered the Pakistani circle but failed to increase the lead.
India: Akashdeep Singh (3′) and Harmanpreet Singh (50′) PC
Pakistan: Attique Arshad (52′)