Pakistan punishes wasteful India

Pakistan's Awais-Ur-Rehman scores the winner against India in the men's hockey final. Photo: Ritu Raj Konwar

Pakistan's Awais-Ur-Rehman scores the winner against India in the men's hockey final. Photo: Ritu Raj Konwar   | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar;ritu raj konwar

Pakistan beat a wasteful India by a solitary goal in the final of the South Asian Games hockey to retain the gold, here at the Maulana Tyabullah Hockey Stadium on Friday.

India, which won the women’s gold a day before, had to be content with the silver for another edition of the game. Bangladesh had earlier picked up the bronze beating Sri Lanka 4-1.

Pakistan nudged ahead in the last minute of first half when the Indian defence appeared to be resting on its oars. Muhammad Arslan Qadir took a reverse hit from the edge of the semicircle as Awais-Ur-Rehman came ahead of the Indian goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya to flick the ball home for what turned out to be the winner.

Pakistan started aggressively and earned a penalty corner in the seventh minute. Dahiya made a fine save on the drag-flick by Abdul Khan before Aleem Bilal’s attempt on the rebound went over the bar.

Shan Ali had the second opportunity for Pakistan in the 12th minute but the Nilam Xess made a fine save on the goal-line to salvage situation for India. Pakistan midfield looked more organised initially and created a few good opportunities for its attack.

Fielding nine members from the side that played the 2012 London Olympics, Pakistan definitely looked a formidable side against the relatively tenderfoot Indians, who at times looked overawed by the skills of the opponent.

With most of the top Indian players busy with different franchises in ongoing the Hockey India League, the second-choice team did well to createsome good scoring opportunities later in the first half. Umar Mohammad faltered in front of an open goal in the 20th minute and failed to place home a nice pass from Gurbaj Singh. Next minute Gagandeep Singh sent his attempt wide and P.L. Thimanna repeated the tentativeness on the goalmouth in the 30th minute to keep the host waiting.

Pakistan found the goal just when the host defence appeared to be congratulating themselves on having done a good job.

India had some more chances after the change of ends with Manpreet Singh missing a sitter in the 56th minute. India earned two penalty-corners in the 65th and 70th minutes but squandered both of them making haphazard attempts.

The result: Pakistan 1 (Awais-Ur-Rehman 35) bt India 0.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 10:17:57 PM |

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