DHAKA: India won 3-1 against arch-rivals Pakistan in their last pool match of the Hero Hockey Asia Cup at Dhaka’s Maulana Bhashani Hockey Stadium.
Both Pakistan and Japan finished with four points but Pakistan has qualified for the next round of Super Four because of the better goal difference than that of Japan.
Pakistan came on the score-sheet after Ali Shan scored in the 48th minute to give his side a chance. Much to Pakistan’s disappointment Harmanpreet Singh had scored for Indian in the 45th minute giving India the lead for 3-0. Indian gained the advantage after Pakistan were down to nine men as Rizwan Sr and Abu Mahmood were shown yellow cards and given five minute suspension.
Rizwan was made to go out for because of a rough block, while Mahmood was penalised for taking the free hit before the whistle. Chinglensana drew the first blood as he scored in the 17th minute, giving India the lead, while Ramandeep scored the second goal. India are already through to the Super Four round after two convincing wins. Pakistan were surprisingly held to a 2-2 draw by a determined and fast-moving Japanese side.
Japan play Bangladesh in their last match. Pakistan enjoys a +7 goal difference while Japan has – 4. Hence, Japan needs not only a big win over Bangladesh but also hope for Pakistan’s defeat against India by a margin which suits them. Pakistan are three-time Asia Cup champions Pakistan while India have lifted the cup twice. It is interesting to note that Pakistan won all the first three editions of the cup in 1982, ’85 and ’89. While India’s victories were achieved in more recent times, in 2003 and 2007
In all of Pakistan’s three Asia Cup wins, India were the runners up. In 1985 and ’89, Pakistan defeated their neighbours in the final. The inaugural 1982 competition was played on a single league basis. There also the Green Shirts defeated India in the decisive last match.
India’s first win, in 2003, came at Pakistan’s expense in the final. In total, the traditional rivals have met six times in the tournament. Interestingly, Pakistan has won as many as five times while India’s lone win against Pakistan in this event came in 2003. In that edition, they met twice. Pakistan won the pool match 4-2 but lost the final by an identical margin.