India’s juggernaut that saw them thrash Bangladesh 15-1 and Oman 12-2 came to a halt after a loss in a nail-biting contest against arch-rivals Pakistan in the ongoing men’s Asian Hockey 5s World Cup Qualifier on Wednesday, August 30.
India lost 4-5 to Pakistan before putting together a stunning display of hockey against Oman. It was the trio of Maninder Singh, Gurjot Singh and Mohammed Raheel that scored for India and kept the Men in Blue in the contest. Maninder scored two goals (17th and 29th minutes) and got ample support from Gurjot (12th minute) and Raheel (21st).
However, their Pakistan counterparts were slightly better on the day as Ahtisham Aslam (2nd, 3rd minutes), Zikriya Hayat (5th min), Abdul Rehman (13th) and Abdul Rana (26th) led the charge of the Green Brigade.
Pakistan drew first blood in the thrilling contest as they maintained ball possession early on and Aslam converted a stunning reverse hit into a goal to leave India shellshocked.
India, desperate to land an equaliser, left a few gaps open in their defence and Aslam got the opening he needed. He scored his second goal of the evening as Pakistan doubled their lead with ease. While Aslam made an immaculate effort to score his second the credit also went to their goalkeeper Ali Raza who foiled an intimidating attack from the Indians and initiated the attack that was executed well by Aslam.
The third one also came soon for Pakistan as Hayat aimed at India’s goalpost from a distance and added to the misery of the Men in Blue. Trailing 3-0, it was going to be a tough ask for the Indians to turn it around but they did.
Gurjot moved swiftly and launched a stunning attack from the right flank to give India their opening in the contest in the 12th minute. However, before India could land another goal and reduce the deficit Abdul scored yet another to make the scoreline 4-1 before half-time.
India fought valiantly in the second half but the Pakistan players kept possession in the dying moments of the game to script a memorable win.
Earlier, in the day, India routed Oman 12-2 as Raheel (2nd, 9th, 30th), Rajbhar (9th, 10th, 21st), and Maninder (16th, 23rd, 26th), scored a hat-trick each, whereas Jugraj Singh (3rd, 28th) and Sukhvinder (29th) also contributed. Team India will now take on Malaysia and Japan on Thursday, August 31.
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