~ Chinglensana Singh (17’), Ramandeep Singh (44’) and Harmanpreet Singh (45’) scored goals for India ~
The Indian Men’s Hockey Team continued their good form in their Hero Asia Cup 2017 campaign with a third successive win beating arch-rivals Pakistan 3-1 in a high-intensity Pool A match here at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium today. Goals from Chinglensana Singh (17’), Ramandeep Singh (44’) and Harmanpreet Singh (45’) ensured the top spot in Pool A for India.
The match between the two arch-rivals started evenly balanced as both sides looked threatening on the attack looking to clinch the opener. India saw plenty of possession inside Pakistan’s box in the early stages of the first quarter but could not convert it into a goal. On the other hand, Pakistan defended well and looked to hurt India on the counter which saw them earn a penalty corner in the last minute of the first quarter which they failed to convert as the teams ended the first quarter goal-less.
The second quarter started well for the Indians as they produced some slick passing to take the lead in the 17th minute. Akashdeep Singh showed some speed on the left flank to inject pace into the attack and then found Chinglensana Singh in the D-area, who finished the move with a sublime hit to give India the lead. Pakistan had a glorious chance of equalizing in the 23rd minute as they earned a penalty corner, but India’s Goalkeeper Suraj Karkera made a great save to deny the neighbors. Two minutes later, the Indian goalkeeper made another great save from a fierce shot from open play as he was kept busy by Pakistan’s attack towards the latter stages of the second quarter. However, India’s defence was up to the task at hand and showed good cohesion to deny their opponents as they took the lead into half-time.
A good performance in the third quarter was essential for both the teams to get a grip on the match. India had the chance to tighten the noose on the match as two Pakistan players were awarded yellow cards, but the Pakistan’s defence held their nerves. India was then awarded a penalty corner in the 40th minute but they could not make the most of it as the flick went wide by Varun Kumar. Pakistan also could not make the most of their opportunities as India continued to dominate possession. The Indians extended their lead to three goals as they scored two goals in two minutes towards the end of the third quarter. First, it was Ramandeep Singh who scored in the 44th minute as he got at the end of a long pass by Harmanpreet Singh from the right flank and then it was the latter who was in action once again as he converted a penalty corner in the 45th minute to make it 3-0 for India at the end of the third quarter.
Pakistan started the fourth quarter on the attack which saw them pull one goal back when Sardar Singh’s pass was intercepted inside India’s circle by Pakistan’s Muhammad Arslan Qadir whose shot fell to fellow teammate Ali Shan, who put it past Goalkeeper Akash Chikte in the 49th minute to make it 3-1. India kept their shape in the last 10 minutes of the match to finish the match 3-1 in their favor.
India and Pakistan will face each other again in Hero Asia Cup 2017 as they have both qualified for the Super 4s stage of the tournament.