Pakistan and India joint winners of Asian Champions Trophy 2018

 
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Islamabad, Oct 29 (TNS): The heavy rain played spoilsport as it forced the much-awaited summit clash between arch-rivals India and Pakistan to be called-off at the Men’s Hockey in Muscat on Sunday. The two teams were declared joint winners of the fifth edition of the continental event. Both India and Pakistan have won the tournament twice before this edition and they will share the honours this time around. Due to the heavy downpour, the match was in no position to begin even after the delay of more than an hour from the scheduled start time of 10:40 pm IST, and the tournament director decided to forfeit the final after a discussion with both the coaches of India and Pakistan. Defending champions India were the only undefeated side in the tournament, and have beaten Pakistan 3-1 in the round-robin match on October 20. Earlier in the third-place playoff, Malaysia defeated Asian Games gold-medallsts Japan 3- 2 in a shoot-out after the contest was ended at 2-2 in the regulation time. It was a rematch of the Asiad final and Malaysia was able to take the revenge for the loss in Jakarta. On Saturday, India set up the summit clash with Pakistan by beating Japan 3-2 in a hardAsian Champions Trophy. Pakistan got the better of Malaysia in a shoot-out (3-1) in the other semi-final. India’s next assignment is the 2018 FIH World Cup in Bhubaneswar, which is scheduled to start on November 28.The last time the two sides met; India beat Pakistan to win the bronze medal at the Asian Games. India scraped through with a 3-2 shoreline but Pakistan needed penalty shootout in what was expected to be a stiff contest against Malaysia where they came out 3-1 winners. These two have met multiple times this year but this wass the first contest for a gold medal.

More over the Pakistan maintains its record of playing every final of the Asian Champions Trophy. They managed to beat Malaysia after an exciting semi final at the Fifth Hero Asian Champions Trophy Hockey Tournament in Muscat, Oman. India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Japan qualified for the semi finals after the completion of the round robin phase at the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Hockey Tournament at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat, Oman.

Played Won Drawn Lost Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
India 5 4 1 0 27 2 +25 13
Pakistan 5 3 1 1 14 6 +8 10
Malaysia 5 3 1 1 10 4 +6 10
Japan 5 2 1 2 8 13 -5 7
South Korea 5 1 0 4 8 15 -7 3
Oman 5 0 0 5 4 31 -27 0

The Malaysia had clawed back from being 1-4 down to level it in the 56th minute.
The shootout was equally exciting. However, luck favored Pakistan.Two days back, when the two sides met in their last round robin match, there was almost nothing
at stake but it was for the place in the final. Pakistan has appeared in all the previous four finals while Malaysia always finished third.It was a thriller throughout. Pakistan’s skipper Rizwan Senior had to sit out because of a hamstring injury.The game got to a sensational start. In only the second minute, Malaysia capitalized from some clumsy Pakistani defence near the 23 meter area to go ahead. Faizal Saari, their all time top scorer, sprinted into the circle and dived to put the ball through the pads of an advancing Imran Butt.The green shirts recovered immediately and were level within three minutes. A fine raid culminated in Ajaz Ahmad, sending an inch perfect square pass from the left side of the circle, to M.Irfan Jr who made no mistake from close range.The up and down stuff continued with two penalty corners coming to each side. Pakistan’s ace PC expert Aleem Bilal rifled the second to the roof of the net.
They soon extended the lead. A loose ball due to a Malaysian blunder was well taken by Abubakr whose superb flat back hander went beneath the onrushing goal keeper.
So It was 3-1 for Pakistan after the first 15 minutes. Five minutes later, another PC ripper from Aleem Bilal rattled the right side of the net. Both open play and penalty corner chances continued to arrive at either end but the score line remained 4-1 after the first 30 minutes. The script remained the same: free flowing game. In the dying minutes of the third quarter Malaysia
Suddenly reduced the margin to the bare minimum through two fine field goals.
First, a ball remained in the Pakistani circle for sometime before Tengku’s hit went through Imran Butt’s pads to sound the board. It was immediately followed by the goal of the day. Aiman beautifully dribbled past two Pakistani defender near the right goal line to enter the circle. His minus wasnt taken well by his team mate. Iman, from the mid circle, slotted the stray ball into the goal himself to make it 3-4.Most of the last quarter, Malaysia held the upper hand. With just four minutes left Malayisa made their supporters go wild with an equalizer off the seventh PC. Faizal Saari’s fast and low push went beneath Imran Butt’s right arm.Malaysia even had an opportunity to go ahead but the eighth PC went abegging and it came down to the dreaded shootout.
Pakistan scored off the first two and Malaysia didnt. Again Malaysia fought back but Pakistan finally managed to scrape through.

SCORERS:
Pakistan: Aleem Bilal 2 both PC (12′ & 20′),M.Irfan Jr (6′), Abubakr Mahmood (15′)
Malaysia: Faizal Saari 2 FG & PC (2′ & 56′), Tengku Tajuddin (43′), Aiman Nik Rozemi (44′)
Before the last round robin match both Pakistan and Malaysia had already qualified for the semifinals, and also virtually assured to face each other again in the last four stage.Still, there were more than the bragging rights attached to this tie.What added spice to this match was the fact that Malaysia’s head coach, Dutchman Roelant Oltmans, was in charge of Pakistan team till one month back. Under Oltmans tutelage, Pakistan had defeated Malaysia 4-1 when the two sides last met, in the Asian Games two months back. Nothing much to describe the first 30 minutes. There were some soft circle entries at either end. The only shot at the goal came via an Imran Butt blunder. Pakistani net minder’s ridiculous clearance went to an opponent at the top of the circle. The Malaysian forward, who had all the time in the world, made a hash of it, shooting straight at Imran Butt. Neither side had a penalty corner. Things livened up in the second half. The tempo was faster and both the teams had some good chances but fine show by the two custodians and poor shooting meant it was still goal less after three quarters. Pakistan earned the first PC of the evening in the 46th minute. Aleem Bilal’s hard angular push was padded away by the goal keeper with an extended right leg.
Pakistan who had a bit more of the play finally managed to break the ice in the 53rd minute. After electrifying passes on a counter attack, M.Irfan Jr standing close to the goal expertly put it in. Two minutes later, a strong Ajaz Ahmad top of the circle shot was well taken by the well positioned Malaysian shot stopper on his chest.Thus, Pakistan ended second in the round robin behind India, edging Malaysia to third slot on goal difference.
SCORER:
M.Irfan Jr (53′). In the fourth match of the round robin phase, Pakistan drew with Japan 1-1 at the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Hockey Tournament at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat, Oman.The Japan, recently won the Asian Games gold for the first time, defeating Pakistan in the semifinals.
In fact, in the last five meetings against Pakistan before this match, the Japanese led three to one with one draw. In the first half, Pakistan had more of the possession, circle entries and chances. Tight marking in the circle by Japanese denied them.
But Japan took the lead in the 11th minute. A swift right side move with neat passes resulted in Kitozato availing a return pass in the circle from a good spot.
Going behind, Pakistan made more meaningful attacks and equalized with the first penalty corner of the tie in the 25th minute. Mubashar Ali whipped the ball into the board left side of the goal keeper.In the dying moments of the first half, Attique Arshad’s fine close range attempt was well saved by the net minder. Pace slowed down in the third quarter and it was mainly a mid field show. Pakistan wasted their second PC.
Japan held the upper hand during the last 15 minutes when they had three penalty corners and a field attempt coming off the post.

SCORERS:
Japan: Kitozato 11′
Pakistan: Mubashar Ali 25′ (PC).
In their third match of the round robin phase, Pakistan annihilated Oman 8-1 at the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Hockey Tournament at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat, Oman.Against the 33rd ranked hosts, the 13th ranked Pakistan scored four in each half with the Omani goal arriving in the last seconds of the match via their third penalty corner of the evening.Five of Pakistan’s goals came off penalty corners where Aleem Bilal shone with three conversions.Oman had their best spell in the third quarter when through swift turn overs they entered the Pakistani circle quite a few times and created chances including two penalty corners. But they were let down by poor finishing. SCORERS:Pakistan: Aleem Bilal 3 (PC), M.Irfan Jr, Shakeel Ammad Butt (PC), M.Irfan Sr (PC), Abubakr Mahmood & Attique Arshad ,Oman: Mohammad Al Lawati (PC).
India defeated Pakistan 3-1 at the Fifth Asian Champions Trophy Hockey Tournament at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat, Oman. In front of a good crowd, mainly Pakistani and Indian expats, the green shirts started in a stormy fashion.
In the very first minute, Pakistan went ahead through a penalty corner. Aleem Bilal’s push was parried by goal keeper Sreejesh’s stretched left leg. But M.Irfan Jr dived on the rebound and pushed the ball in with the stick held in the fully extended left arm.
For the rest of the quarter, India remained in ascendancy. They had a couple of half chances but the equalizer eluded them.Pakistan again began well in the next quarter. Recalled veteran M.Zubair had all the time at the circle’s top but shot wide. A few minutes later, he again squandered a fine opportunity.
Thereafter, India controlled the game with free flowing hockey and created chances.
In the 24th minute, Captain Manpreet made it 1-1 with an outstanding individual effort. In a moment of genius, he eliminated three defenders before flicking into the left corner of the tin. Against the run of play Pakistan earned a PC in the last minute but Mubashar Ali flicked it high.Two minutes, into the second half, Mandeep Singh put India ahead with the most amazing finish.
With his back towards the goal, he somehow pushed the ball between his own legs into the net to leave everyone stunned.
India continued to run Pakistani defence ragged with swift moves. Pakistani net minder Imran Butt was repeatedly called into action.
A right side attack initiated from India’s own half culminated in a small square pass to young Dilpreet Singh who easily slotted in from a good spot not far from the goal.
Pakistan’s only chance in the third quarter was a PC which went wasted due to poor stoppage.The last 15 minutes was also mainly India who couldnt add to the tally despite having the opportunities.India was far ahead of Pakistan in statistics: possession, number of circle penetrations and shots on the goal.
SCORERS: (Pakistan: M.Irfan Jr.India: Manpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh & Dilpreet Singh
India beat Pakistan 3-1).
Earlier Pakistan began their campaign at the Fifth Asian Champions Trophy Hockey Tournament with a good 3-1 win over South Korea.Pakistan was easily the better side in the first half. The dominated the possession, had several circle penetrations, created quite a few chances and availed two of them.Most of their attacks came from the right side.In the 12th minute, a delightful move starting from the own half saw balls passed superbly and Umar Bhutta laid it in the path of Ajaz Ahmad in front of goal who easily put it in.In the 18th minute, some excellent passing inside the circle saw an Umar Bhutta attempt saved superbly by the goal keeper but Bhutta availed the rebound in a flash of an eye. Half time: Pakistan: 2, Korea: Though, Korea did better in the third quarter still Pakistan had more of the play. They made meaningful raids and in the 42nd minute, Rizwan Sr stepped aside two defenders and his terrific top of the circle carpet hit went through the goal keeper’s pads.In the first five minutes of the last quarter, Pakistan wasted an open play opportunity and a penalty corner. In the 51st minute a brilliant Korean play made the match alive. An excellent angular backhander from circle’s left side reached an unmarked Kim Hyeoinjgin in a good spot who made it 1-3Korea had their best phase of the evening over next five minutes. They also earned their only PC of the match with five minutes left but couldnt avail it. Pakistan was able to see off this phase and had a PC off their own in the 57th minute but there was no change in the score line when 60 minutes ended.Pakistan’s overall display was quite impressive.Pakistan: 3 (Ajaz Ahmed (12′), Umar Bhutta (18′) M.Rizwan Sr (42′)
South Korea: 1 Kim Hyeoinjgin (51′)

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