Pak keep India in check for 1-1 draw

Salalah (Oman), May 28

India played out a thrilling 1-1 draw against arch-rivals Pakistan in their third Pool A game to continue their unbeaten run in the men’s Junior Asia Cup hockey tournament here.

Sharda Nand Tiwari (24th minute) gave India the lead in the high-octane match on late Saturday night but it was nullified by Basharat Ali in the 44th minute.

The result means India stay second in Pool A behind Pakistan with seven points from three matches as Pakistan are ahead only on goal difference with same points.

Japan, who beat Chinese Taipei 10-1 earlier on Saturday, are third with six points from three outings.

On Saturday, the Indians went on the offensive from the word go and kept Pakistan’s defence under pressure. India won a couple of penalty corners early in the game but couldn’t capitalise on them.

Pakistan, on the other hand, also managed to create a few chances and even came close to scoring through a penalty corner but India’s goalkeeper Amandeep Lakra was solid under the bar as the opening quarter ended goalless.

However, India broke the deadlock in the second when Tiwari brilliantly converted a penalty corner to give his team the much-needed lead.

Leading 1-0, the Indians started playing more confidently and troubled Pakistan’s defence on numerous occasions but failed to double the lead.

Desperate to equalise, Pakistan upped their game after the change of ends. They attacked with more intent and it finally paid off when Basharat scored a field goal towards the end of the third quarter to level the scores.

Keen to regain the advantage, India came out all guns blazing in the fourth quarter as Pakistan relied more on counters.

Though both teams came close to scoring quite a few times, neither was able to find the back of the net and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

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