SALALAH: Players in action during the Junior Asia Cup match between Pakistan and India at the Salalah Sports Complex.—Asian Hockey Federation
SALALAH: Players in action during the Junior Asia Cup match between Pakistan and India at the Salalah Sports Complex.—Asian Hockey Federation

LAHORE: Pakistan held favourites India to a 1-1 draw in their Junior Asia Cup match in the Omani city of Salalah on Saturday, keeping the national side unbeaten so far in the tournament.

After Sharda Nand Tiwari had broken Pakistan’s solid defence line following 24 minutes of domination, Basharat Ali struck 20 minutes later for the latter to equalise against their archrivals in the Pool ‘A’ match.

India had kept Pakistan at bay for most of the match, but a good defensive show by the national side restricted the former from scoring goals. Pakistan could have increased their chances of winning the game too hadn’t it been for the missed opportunities from as many as seven penalty corners.

But when India got their chance, Tiwari got them the lead with a penalty corner. However, coached by Roelant Oltmans, Pakistan upped their game in the third quarter which lead to Basharat’s strike in open play.

While Basharat got his name on the scorecard, Abdul Hanan Shahid was named the man of the match.

Both teams came into the match after winning their first two matches and after the result against India, Pakistan were on the top of the pool with a better goal difference.

The national side will take on Japan in their last pool match on May 29 and would need just a draw to make it to the semi-finals.

Pakistan team manager said the junior national side’s performance showed its capability to compete with tough opponents, and that it was a result of their rigorous preparations in the training camp ahead of the tournament. Hanif said the Pakistan players required support from all the concerned stakeholders.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2023

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