Incheon: Indian men’s hockey team defeated arch-rivals Pakistan in shootout to clinch a gold medal at the Seonhak Hockey Stadium in 17 th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. The win also secured India’s place in the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil.
The arch-rivals India-Pakistan face off was an apt end to men’s hockey final and the keenly fought contest was worth of a final. The things did not start off too brightly for India as Pakistan took an early lead after Rizwan Muhammad scored the opening goal in the third minute.
While Sreejesh, India’s goalkeeper stretched himself to save the goal, it was in vain. Pakistan continued to build pressure on their fierce rivals.
The Indian opponents were tight in their defence and denied India to level the scores. It was not that India did not have an opportunity to break Pakistan’s defence. But Ramandeep and Sunil missed out on golden opportunities to get back India into the game as the first quarter of the final came to an end.
In the second quarter India were offered a penalty which did not really go down too well with Pakistan. While Rupinderpal hit the ball well, Pakistan’s goalkeeper Imran Butt did a fine job to deny India their first goal.
But India’s disappoint was soon over when Kothajit Singh, just before the end of second quarter, scored his first goal in the Asian Games to help India equalise in the final.
In the third quarter, Pakistan launched into the attack. They, though, were denied two goal scoring opportunities; one when referee ruled out a penalty and one when Sreejesh made a brilliant save.
While both the teams did their best to score the winning goal, they were unsuccessful to do so in the fourth quarter.
It eventually came down on shootouts.
Gurwinder Chandi scored India’s first goal. India 1- Pakistan 0.
Haseem Abdul Khan then missed a chance as Sreejesh denied him and Pakistan an equaliser.
India then scored another goal to take 2-0 as Rupinderpal scored. India 2- Pakistan 0.
Waqas then pulled back few things by scoring for Pakistan but not before Sreejesh made two saves. India 2- Pakistan 1.
Then, India were denied a goal when the referee turned down Manpreet’s goal Manpreet was brought down Pakistan’s goalkeeper. India protested against this decision.
Pakistan’s Umar Bhutta then could not get past Sreejesh.
India then scored their 4th and 5th goal and grabbed a gold medal. The win also helped India to qualify for 2016 Rio Olympics.