India beat Pakistan 4-2 in Azlan Shah hockeyBy IANS
Friday, May 7, 2010
IPOH - Defending champions India breathed life into their Azlan Shah hockey campaign with a resounding 4-2 win over arch rivals Pakistan here Friday.
India opened the scoring in the 26th minute through Sardar Singh to go 1-0 up at half time. Pakistan’s Muhammad Imran converted a penalty stroke to draw level in the 37th minute in the action-packed second half.
India then scored thrice to take a decisive 4-1 lead with contributions from Mandeep Antil (47th), Gurbaj Singh (53rd) and Tushar Khandekar (56th minute).
Pakistan pulled back one through Kasif Ali’s drag-flick strike in the 66th minute but it was too little too late.
It was an improved performance by India who wasted five penalty corners and struck in the dying moments to escape with a 1-1 draw against China in their first match.
India, who defeated Pakistan in their last meeting at the hockey World Cup in New Delhi, had to win this match to give themselves a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.
India seized the initiative and started making deep forays into the Pakistani half led by Arjun Hallapa who did not play the match against China Thursday.
India wasted two penalty corners before Sardar Singh slammed in the rebound off a penalty corner attempt by Dhanajay Mahadik.
Pakistan mounted pressure on the Indian defence and even got a penalty corner but could not equalise.
Soon after the interval, Pakistan were given a penalty stroke following a goalmouth scramble and Imran placed the ball above the head of goalkeeper P.R Sreejesh.
India then relied on counterattacks to seize the lead back. They went ahead when Gurbaj Singh’s long pass was deflected in by Antil.
Indian forwards moved faster and dissected the Pakistan defence with relentless attacks which resulted in two quick goals that snuffed the challenge out of Pakistan.
Tushar Khandekar, latching onto a pass from Shivender, scored from a solo while two minutes later Gurbaj scored another to increase the lead to 4-1.
Pakistan did their best to narrow down the margin and converted one penalty corner even as India gathered pace. India got two penalty corners towards the end but could not score.
India will take on South Korea Sunday.