Salalah (Oman), June 1
India’s junior men’s hockey team maintained its continental supremacy as it beat arch-rivals Pakistan 2-1 to win the Asia Cup for the fourth time here today.
Angad Bir Singh (13th minute) and Araijeet Singh Hundal (20th) scored for India while Pakistan managed to pull one back through Abdul Basharat (37th). Hundal finished as India’s top-scorer with eight goals, while Angad scored seven goals in the event.
India have become the most successful team in the history of the tournament. They had also won the title in 2004, 2008 and 2015. Pakistan (1987, 1992, 1996) have won the tournament three times.
“After the 1-1 draw (against Pakistan) in the round robin stage, we were aware of the areas we had to improve in order to beat Pakistan,” said India captain Uttam Singh, who was adjudged the Player of the Match. “It was quite a nervous final. The team had never played in front of such a big crowd but I think getting the early goals helped us stay in control of the game,” he added.
India coach CR Kumar said: “When you are playing Pakistan there is a lot of pressure. But I am very happy with the way the players controlled their emotions and played to their potential.”
The team finished the tournament with an unbeaten record, also qualifying for the Junior World Cup. Hockey India announced a cash award of Rs 2 lakh each for the players and Rs 1 lakh each for the support staff. “The team has shown great promise over the past few months,” Hockey India President Dilip Tirkey said.