In the Super 4s match of the Hockey Asia Cup, India and Pakistan clashed for the second time in the tournament. Pakistan were seeking revenge for their earlier defeat. India was simply looking to get in the final. However, it was India who once again stamped their authority. In a closely contested first 2 quarters, no team gave an inch of space. Things began to pick up towards the end and India fired in 4 goals to seal the match.
Pakistan started off strong but India won the first Penalty Corner. The Men in Green smelt something fishy and challenged it. Unfortunately, nothing was wrong and Pakistan lost their referral. The game was fairly slow as Pakistan tried to control the pace. Bothe sides came close on several occasions but the match was still goalless. India seized control but squandered many chances due to silly errors. India had a close call when a Pakistani shot hit the side post and ricocheted away for a PC. Pakistan had more chances and were looking more and more threatening with each attempt. As the first quarter ended, Pakistan was clearly on the front foot. They had won 3 PCs compared to India’s 1 and the latter were committing basic defensive errors and giving away possession.
India were still struggling as they consistently ran into Pakistani bodies. Pakistan were still attacking and India was being backed into a corner. In the middle of the 2nd quarter, Ramandeep Singh broke through but his shot was saved by the keeper. After some more fierce gameplay, India hammered in another effort but the ball whacked the upright. As the 2nd quarter ended, the game looked to be in Pakistan’s favour.
Shakeel Butt broke through the Indian defence and gave Suraj Karkera his first test. Karkera passed with flying colours. And then it happened, amid all the silly errors, India banged in a goal to lead 1-0. Some confusion reigned as the computers tried to decide whether Gurjant Singh had scored or Satbir Singh. In the end, Satbir was awarded the goal. Varun Kumar almost doubled the lead but lost control of the ball. Lalit Upadhyay also tried and missed.
Pakistan began to look tired, maybe that was India’s ploy all along. The teams began to scramble to finish off the game. India only needed a win or a draw to go through to the final. India won their 8th PC when Sumit Kumar got an almighty shove from behind. A few moments later, Harmanpreet Singh finally found the back of the net. As if on cue, Lalit Upadhyay sliced in a 3rd goal. With a player on the bench due to a yellow card, desperation sunk into the Pakistan team. India took capital advantage and Gurjant Singh finally got that goal. And thats all she wrote! India are through to the final.