India beat Pakistan on penalties to lift Asian Champions Trophy

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THE Indian hockey team defeated arch-rivals Pakistan to win the first edition of the Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament on Sunday in Ordos, China. India, with a blend of experience and youth in the team, beat Pakistan 4-2 on penalty shootout in the summit clash. Pakistan’s Haseem Khan and Shafqat Rasool missed the mark for Pakistan, to hand India the trophy. Rajpal Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Yuvraj Walmiki and Sarvanjit Singh scored for India in the penalty shootouts while Muhammad Rizwan and Waseem Ahmed sounded the board for Pakistan.
India started the shootouts on a wrong note when Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Shah saved the shot from Gurwinder Singh Chandi. Sreejesh then came to the fore with a save off Haseem Abdul Khan. It was then Mujtaba’s turn and he neatly sent the ball past Shah to give India a 1-0 lead.
Pakistan equalised when Rizwan scored but Indian captain Rajpal slotted the ball home to give his side 2-1 up. Then came the crucial save by Sreejesh as he stopped Shafqat Rasool from scoring, advancing and taking the shot on the pads. Yuvraj made it 3-1 and the Pakistan veteran Waseem cut the scores to 3-2 but Sarvanjit’s conversion past Shah ensured India ran out champions. Earlier in the match, both India and Pakistan had ample opportunities to finish off the match in regulation time.
Pakistan earned seven penalty corners to India’s one but they failed to beat the Indian defence and the goalkeeper Sreejesh. Asian Games champions Pakistan were initially more attacking, pushing the Indian defence back. Shakeel Abassi made some fine runs into the Indian striking circle but V Raghunath stood out with his tackling and clearances.
The Indian forwards had a couple of counter-attacks which the Pakistan defence managed to clear. It was a tense match with a few skirmishes between the players. SV Sunil was the first to be shown the green card for a rough tackle. Pakistan had their first penalty corner in the 14th minute which Sreejesh charged out and saved. India were losing the ball consistently in the midfield. The players were hasty and failed to keep the ball to ensure the passes went right. In the 29th minute, India had their first penalty corner but Ignace Tirkey failed to trap properly and thus wasted the opportunity.
Pakistan had a bunch of penalty corners in the second half and they were to blame themselves for letting the match drift to the shootout. They could not score off the 41st, 47th and 48th minute penalty corners. With 14 minutes of regulation time left, India got a golden chance with Mujtaba having only Pakistan goalkeeper in front but could not place the ball in and shot wide. In the 60th and 62nd minutes, Pakistan again wasted three penalty corners.
India could have clinched the issue in the 65th minute but Yuvraj shot out from a handshaking distance. After a tense struggle in 15 minutes of extra time, it finally came down to the shootout in which Sreejesh carried his good form and ensured India returned champions. Indian coach Michael Nobbs was almost in tears and said: “This is a great win. Both teams played well and had enough chances. But it is fantastic to see a young Indian side win such a prestigious tournament.”
Earlier on the day, Malaysia won the bronze medal after defeating Japan by 1-0 while South Korea beat china by 2-1 in the fifth place match.

1 COMMENT

  1. So, new look Pakistan Hockey Team lost the final on penalty shoot out and the result of this tournament is 3 won,1drawn and 2 lost.Team played 6 matches including the final.Nothing to be confident or dreaming to win the Champions Trophy or Olympics.I think Salman,Sohail and Rehan should be brought back and be kept with the team until Olympics. Let the team be of 20 members,instead of 16 or 18.Lot of hard training is required and coaching staff should continue to review their work match by match. Head coach should go back to drawing board with the team after every match. If this is the result of the long 1 month tour of Europe, I don't know what is in store for the team in the coming tournaments,after reading about the team assignments in next 6 months. I mean China and other Asian teams are struggling to even keep their spots in Asia,so how will it assist lifting the teams performance. Add Shabaz Sheikh as a consultant on the current Pakistan Hockey Coaching Staff. Anyways,Good Luck, Pakistan Hockey Team.

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