Sultan Azlan Shah Cup: India beat Pakistan

Azlan Shah cup

A spirited India beat Pakistan in a must-win match to keep alive their hopes in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament by notching up a come-from-behind 3-1 win over their arch-rivals, here today.

India were in a spot of bother ahead of the match after losing their opening two encounters, and another loss today would have virtually shut the door on Michael Nobbs' wards.

But, it was not to be, as India scored through Rupinder Pal Singh (5th minute), Akashdeep Singh (9th) and Mandeep Singh (56th) to seal the issue in their favour after Mohammad Waqas gave Pakistan the lead in the fourth minute of the game.

By virtue of today's win, India have moved up in the team standings to the fourth position ahead of Pakistan with three points from as many games.

It was an enthralling encounter between the two Asian giants, who adopted a cautious approach in the initial stages of the match.

Going by the share of ball possession, Pakistan, by far, were the better side on display at least in the opening half.

The Pakistanis put the Indian defence under tremendous pressure in the opening few minutes of the game.

Their efforts produced result immediately when Waqas deflected in skipper Muhammad Imran's flick after Pakistan tried a variation from their first penalty corner.

But the Indians hardly took any time to bounce back as they pumped in two goals in a span of five minutes to stun their neighbours.

Rupinder restored parity for India in the fifth minute converting India's only penalty corner of the match with a fierce drag-flick which beat Pakistan goal-keeper Imran Butt all ends up.

Four minutes later, an opportunist Akashdeep put India ahead, slamming in a rebound after Nithin Thimmiah's initial shot was stopped by Pakistan custodian Shah.

Pakistan had an off day in office which can be gauged from the fact that they only managed to convert one out of the eight penalty corners that came their way.

... contd.

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