Sultan Azlan Shah Cup: India cut Pakistan to size with 4-2 win to finish 5th
India recovered well from the controversial drawn match against hosts Malaysia yesterday as they pulled off a clinical 4-2 win over arch-rivals Pakistan, to take the fifth spot in the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Hockey Tournament in Ipoh, Malaysia on Sunday.
Pakistan wrested the early initiative when captain Mohammed Imran made the most of the first penalty corner beating PR Sreejesh all ends up in the eight minute.
Pakistan’s joy was short-lived as Rupinder Pal Singh brought India on level terms converting India’s first short corner two minutes later, whipping home his drag-flick towards the right of Imran Butt.
India showed more conviction in their attacks and controlled the play with nice passing play. They won their second penalty corner in the 15th minute but Rupinder’s weak drag-flick was well saved by the Pakistan defence.
India forced their third penalty corner in the 18th minute but Rupinder scuffed the opportunity.
Pakistan responded strongly forcing a PC in the 21st minute when Imran’s drag-flick hit Rupinder on his hand, resulting in a follow-on PC. PR Sreejesh made a fine save off a fierce hit from Aamir from the follow-on PC.
India looked good to go 2-1 up when Dharamvir took a rasping reverse hit shot, which was foiled by Butt.
Pakistan were awarded their fourth penalty corner in the 28th minute but Imran failed to capitalize on it.
The greenshirts earned their fifth short corner in the 33rd minute and this the PC hit responsibility was given to Ateeq Muhammad, whose drag-flick was nicely stopped by Sreejesh.
Pakistan were reduced to ten men in the final minute of the first half when Irfan was green-carded. India made the most of the numerical advantage as Akashdeep tapped home a slap from Manpreet outside the 25-yard line as the Blueshirts went into half-time with a 2-1 lead.
India went on the offensive in the second half. They suffered a mild setback when captain Danish Mujtaba was hit on the forehead by Ateeq.
India made it 3-1 in the 43rd minute when Malak Singh sounded the board, deflecting a long ball from the left.
Kashif Shah reduced the deficit three minutes later to keep his side in the contest.
Unperturbed by the Pakistan goal, India continued to attack and forced their fourth penalty corner in the 58th minute but Rupinder messed it up.
Dharamvir made a fine run inside the Pakistan ’D’ and rounded goalkeeper Butt and took a crack at their goalmouth but the ball hit the foot of a Pakistan player, which resulted in a penalty stroke.
Rupinder converted the stroke coolly in the 62nd minute to literally put the match beyond Pakistan.
India kept the ball in the Pakistan half in the dying moments and held firm to win the match 4-2.