Clash of titans: India take on Pakistan this Super Sunday 

Pegged as the biggest encounter at the Hero Asia Cup 2017, the two teams will battle for the top spot in Pool A

14 October
Dhaka (Bangladesh), 14 October, 2017: It’s Super Sunday once again when Indian men’s hockey team will take on Pakistan in a high-voltage encounter here at the Hero Asia Cup 2017 in Dhaka. Even as the memories of India – Pakistan clash from the Hero Hockey World League Semi Final in London earlier this year is fresh in the minds of hockey lovers’ world over, the two teams are geared up for tomorrow’s match that is believed to create anxious moments for the teams’ supporters.
“What happened in London was different,” asserted Pakistan skipper Mohammad Irfan on the eve of the match. “I am aware that we lost two back-to-back matches (Pakistan lost 1-7 and 1-6) against India but the present Pakistan team is different with few of the senior players making a comeback. Our management has changed and I am confident we will put up a good show where hockey lovers from across the world will enjoy the match,” expressed the 29-year-old Irfan.
Though Pakistan got off to a roaring start in this tournament with a 7-1 win against hosts Bangladesh, they stumbled against Japan as they settled for a 2-2 draw. On Sunday, Pakistan needs to ensure a win against India to make the Super 4s stage. “It is a must-win game for us otherwise we know it will come down to the match between Japan and Bangladesh and if Japan beats hosts by a big margin then we are in trouble,” emphasized Irfan. He rued the chances his forwards missed against Japan but is hopeful they won’t make the same mistakes against India. “We watched the video of the match against Japan. There were easy chances that we missed but we don’t want to repeat the same mistake against India. They are a strong team with good strategies but we want to focus on our individual skill,” he added.
Meanwhile, Indian team captain Manpreet Singh stated that his team’s focus will be to top the table and to do that they want to make sure they come up with an overall performance against Pakistan. The team is currently on top of the pool table with six points from two wins (against Japan 5-1 and Bangladesh 7-0) in Pool A.  “For hockey lovers, India- Pakistan is always a great game to watch. For us, we want to play them as any other opponent. We want to focus on our strategies against them and ensure we get on to a good start and not concede early goals,” 25-year-old midfielder stated.
While Indian forward-line has showcased incredible form, the team continues to struggle with penalty corner conversion – a concern that might cost them dearly against Pakistan who will look to use this to their advantage. “I still don’t think our PC conversation is bad. Yes, we missed a few chances but you must also acknowledge that Bangladesh defence in PC was good,” Manpreet pointed out.
Interestingly, Sunday will witness the 170th clash between India and Pakistan and the match is pegged to be Hero Asia Cup’s biggest encounter with Bangladeshi hockey buffs expected to turn out in large numbers to witness this epic face-off. Statistics show that India have just 57 wins while Pakistan have won 82 times against their nemesis India. And as Pakistan skipper rightfully said, “It will be the team that absorbs the pressure well in the early stages of the match will emerge victorious on Sunday.”
On Sunday, October 15, 2017 India will take on Pakistan at 17.30 hrs local time while Japan will face hosts Bangladesh on the same day at 15.00 hrs local time.
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