Salalah (Oman): The Indian junior men’s hockey team on Thursday won the Junior Asia Cup title for the fourth time, defeating arch-rivals Pakistan 2-1. Fans from India and Pakistan gathered in large numbers to watch this tournament being held after eight years. In the final moments, Pakistan showed aggressive hockey but the defense led by Indian goalkeeper Mohit HS failed every attack.
Angad Bir Singh scored for India in the 12th minute, Arijit Singh Hundal scored in the 19th minute, while Basharat Ali scored the lone goal for the Pakistan team, coached by former India head coach Roelant Oltmans, in the 37th minute. India won this title for the fourth time after 2004, 2005, and 2015 while Pakistan has been the champion in 1987, 1992, and 1996. The two teams met in the finals of the Junior Men’s Hockey Asia Cup thrice earlier.
Pakistan won in 1996 while India was victorious in 2004. India won the title by defeating Pakistan 6-2 in the last tournament played in Malaysia. This time the tournament is happening after eight years. It was not organized in 2021 due to the Corona epidemic. India started aggressively and attacked the Pakistan goal in the first quarter itself.
Angad Bir got India the first breakthrough in the 12th minute. In the second quarter too, India dominated in terms of ball control. Arijit finished off a brilliant move by the Indian forward line with a second field goal in the 19th minute. It was his eighth goal in the tournament. Just before half-time, Pakistan’s Shahid Abdul created a golden opportunity but his shot in front of the goal was deftly saved by Indian goalkeeper Mohit HS.
In the second half, the Pakistani team made an aggressive comeback and it paid off in the seventh minute of the third quarter when Shahid Abdul passed the ball to Basharat, who was standing on the right side of the goal, from inside the circle to dodge the Indian defenders, and he took the Indian goalkeeper and scored. done. Pakistan got a penalty corner in the 50th minute but the team could not find the equaliser. At the same time, four minutes later, two consecutive penalty corners were found but there was no success.
Both India and Pakistan have been unbeatable in the tournament. The two also faced off in the league stage but that match ended in a 1-1 draw. India topped the league stage on the basis of a better goal average. Defending champions India defeated Chinese Taipei 18-0, Japan 3-1, and Thailand 17-0 in the first match. India beat Korea 9-1 in the semi-finals. In the league stage, Pakistan beat Chinese Taipei 15-1, Thailand 9-0, Japan 3-2, and Malaysia 6-2 in the semi-finals.