India survive Pakistan scare; claim top spot in Pool A with a 3-1 win  

Chinglensana Singh (17'), Ramandeep Singh (44') and Harmanpreet Singh (45') scored goals for India

15 October

Dhaka (Bangladesh), 15 October, 2017: India survived a close encounter with nemesis Pakistan to continue their winning streak in the Hero Asia Cup 2017 here in Dhaka. The 3-1 victory against old foe not only brought cheer to the Indian fans present at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium, but the Sunday blockbuster match brought the best hockey out of the two teams leaving the local crowd wanting for more. It was goals by Chinglensana Singh (17′), Ramandeep Singh (44′) and Harmanpreet Singh (45′) that ensured India a top spot in Pool A.

The first quarter started evenly as both sides looked threatening on the attack looking to clinch the opener. India saw plenty of possession inside Pakistan’s circle in the early stages of the first quarter but could not convert it into a goal. On the other hand, Pakistan defended well and looked to hurt India on the counter which saw them earn a penalty corner in the last minute of first quarter. Sadly though, they failed to convert as the teams ended the first quarter goal-less.

The second quarter started well for the Indians as they produced some slick passing to take the lead in the 17th minute. Akashdeep Singh showed some speed on the left flank to inject pace into the attack and then found Chinglensana Singh in the D-area, who finished the move with a sublime hit to give India the lead. Pakistan had a glorious chance of equalising in the 23rd minute as they earned a penalty corner, but India’s Goalkeeper Suraj Karkera made a great save to deny the neighbours. Two minutes later, the Indian goalkeeper made another great save from a fierce shot from open play as he was kept busy by Pakistan’s attack towards the latter stages of the second quarter. However, India’s defence was up to the task at hand, and showed good cohesion to deny their opponents as they took the lead into half-time.

A good performance in the third quarter was essential for both the teams to get a grip on the match. India had the chance to tighten the noose on the match as two Pakistan players were awarded yellow cards, but the Pakistan’s defence held their nerves. India were then awarded a penalty corner in the 40th minute but they could not make the most of it as the flick went wide by Varun Kumar. Pakistan also could not make the most of their opportunities as India continued to dominate possession.

The Indians extended their lead to three goals as they scored two goals in two minutes towards the end of the third quarter. First, it was Ramandeep Singh who scored in the 44th minute as he got at the end of a long pass by Harmanpreet Singh from the right flank and then it was the latter who was in action once again as he converted a penalty corner in the 45th minute to make it 3-0 for India at the end of the third quarter.

Pakistan started the fourth quarter on the attack which saw them pull one goal back when Sardar Singh’s pass was intercepted inside India’s circle by Pakistan’s Muhammad Arslan Qadir whose shot fell to fellow teammate Ali Shan, who put it past Goalkeeper Akash Chikte in the 49th minute to make it 3-1. India kept their shape in the last 10 minutes of the match to finish the match 3-1 in their favour.

India and Pakistan will face each other again in Hero Asia Cup 2017 as they have both qualified for the Super 4s stage of the tournament which gets underway on October 18.

Post match comments: 

On continuing their winning streak against Pakistan this year, India skipper Manpreet Singh said, “Yes we are happy about winning the match but we didn’t play our best game. We had quite a few missed chances and I feel the team lost a little bit of focus. We should have got more goals and we will be working on the mistakes we did and strive to improve in the Super 4s stage.”

Pakistan Captain, on the other hand, rued the PCs chances they missed, which cost them dearly. “We got an early break through in the first quarter but unfortunately we could not convert the goal. Though our defence was tight and we did well in terms of counter defence and didn’t allow them easy chances in the circle, we could not finish the game well. I am happy with how the boys played,” expressed Muhammad Irfan, skipper Pakistan team.

HERO of the Match Award:

Presented By: His Excellency Rafiuzzaman Siddiqui (High Commissioner of Pakistan to Bangladesh)

Accompanied by Tayyab Ikram Chief Executive Asian Hockey Federation

Winner: Chinglensana Kangujam

Goal of the Game:

First Security Islami Bank Ltd Presented by: Mr. Syed Waseque Md. Ali (Managing Director of First Security Islami Bank Ltd)

Winner: Ramandeep Singh

Official Hashtag: #HeroAsiaCup

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