Indian goalkeeper P.R Sreejesh will remember this day for a long time, as his scintillating effort in front of the goal helped India beat arch-rivals Pakistan in their do-or-die encounter of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. The young Indian team opened its account in the tournament after beating Pakistan 3-1 in a thrilling encounter in Ipoh, Malaysia.
The first half of the match was played at blistering speed as both teams tested each other. It was Pakistan who opened the scoring with the help of Muhammad Waqas who scored in the 5th minute through a penalty corner. Bu the joy was short lived for Pakistan, as India hit back strongly and scored an equalizer through a penalty corner, which was taken by Rupinder Pal Singh in the sixth minute. India then took the lead courtesy Akashdeep Singh, in the 9th minute.
In the first half alone Pakistan got four penalty corners converting one, but Sreejesh was on hand to keep the opponents at bay. In comparison, India had more circle penetrations, but men in green had more shots on goals.
The second half was played in complete contrast to the first, as both team played uninterrupted hockey. However, Pakistan almost scored an equalizer, but Sreejesh was well alert to neutralize the situation. Finally, in the 56th minute Mandeep Singh scored for India to make it 3-1 and virtually wrapped the match up for India. He had earlier missed an easy chance but didn’t make any error this time.
The win over Pakistan means India has moved on to fourth position in the tournament, just behind New Zealand, which has a better goal difference, but they are level on points. India is set to face the Black Sticks in its penultimate match of the tournament on 14th of March. In the other matches of the day, New Zealand defeated South Korea 3-0 and the match between hosts Malaysia and Australia, ended in a 1-1 draw.
Rupinder Pal Singh – 6th Minute
Akashdeep Singh – 9th Minute
Mandeep Singh – 56th Minute
Muhammad Waqas – 5th MinutePublished 12 Mar 2013, 20:15 IST