JAKARTA: Defending champion and world number 5 India clinched the bronze medals in the men’s hockey event at the Asian Games after a 2-1 win over Pakistan at the GBK Hockey Stadium.
The game was witnessed by a packed crowd who were itching for an exciting game, and that was what they got as the match proved to be an exciting game with both sides attacking and pushing hard for a win. An early goal for India in the third minute by Akashdeep Singh proved to be crucial for India.
Indian coach Harinder Singh complimented the players for their strong character and resilience. “The players were down after the semi-final defeat to Malaysia. But we reviewed the situation and spoke in detail to get ready for this match. Having to play a match with Pakistan under such condition is always tough. But credit to both teams for a good game and an entertaining match,” he said.
The Indians increased their lead at the start of the fourth quarter. Harmanpreet Singh scored from a penalty corner set-piece move in the 49th minute. In the 51st minute, the Pakistanis hit back and scored a field goal by Mohamed Atiq. With 9 minutes to go and both teams pressing hard, it was difficult to ease out until the final whistle was blown.
The goalkeepers at both ends did their parts to make this match one of the most exciting matches of the tournament. The stadium was echoing with sheer adrenaline with the end-to-end gameplay being displayed on the pitch.
Pakistan coach had the following to say about the match “I must say that the third and fourth quarter saw some of the best performance by our players. We created numerous chances and fancied ourselves to score the equalizer. A goal could have swayed the pendulum of the match in our favor. I am pleased with the improvement showed by the players and that is good for the future. We can on getting better and we have to take the good and build on it,” he said.
The next tournament they will compete will be at the Asian Champions Trophy. Fans from both sides would be on edge to witness another high intensity, world-class game of hockey.