Indian Hockey Team edge past Pakistan by 3-1 in the last game of pool A to top the group & book their place in the semis of Hero Asia Cup 2017.
The Sjoerd Marijne-coached India would be high in confidence after grabbing the top position in Pool A, earlier the men in blue crushed the challenge of Japan (5-1) and hosts Bangladesh (7-0) in the first two matches.
However, on the other hand Pakistan on Friday dropped two points after Japan held them 2-2. The record world champions had earlier drubbed Bangladesh 7-0. The lost against India & draw with Japan will surely raise some questions for Pakistan but still they ensured their place in the last 4 of Asia Cup.
In the previous meetings of arch-rivals, India had thrashed their neighbours 7-1 in the pool stage and followed it up with a 6-1 win in the classification match of of the Hockey World League Semi Final in London.
India started the proceedings on a bright note & got many chances in the first quarter but the team failed to capitalise them, there was enough space for India to move around and control the flow of the game. India kept the midfield tight which plugged any gaps & the first 15 minutes went goal less.
Men in Blue drew the first blood after Chinglensana slotted home a compose and cool finish to put India the lead in just the second minute of the second quarter. Both the teams made few chances in the 2nd quarter but failed to get some benefit out of it.
At Half Time, only one goal separated both the teams with India enjoying more possession & circle penetrations in the opposite half.
In the initial minutes of the third quarter, Rizwan Senior and Mahmuud got yellow cards, forcing Pakistan to play with only 9 players for 5 minutes but India couldn’t make capitalise the Golden opportunity.
India finally scored their second goal with just two mins to go in the third quarter after Ramandeep hit the ball into the net to help India extend their lead by 2-0.
With just 28 seconds left in the third quarter, Harmanpreet Singh scored another for India from the penalty corner & put India ahead by 3-0.
Pakistan do tried to get back in the match & got their first goal of the day in the third minute of the fourth quarter. Indian players failed to clear the ball from their D and Ali Shaan hit a reverse hit which took a slight deflection from the India goalie and trickled away into the net.
Earlier,Manpreet Singh stated “For hockey lovers, India vs Pakistan is always a great game to watch. For us, we want to play them as any other opponent. We want to focus on our strategies against them and ensure we get on to a good start and not concede early goals,”
With this win, India tops the Pool A & most probably will take on South Korea in the semis of Asian Cup 2017.