Asian Games: India beat Pakistan in men's hockey to win bronze

What would have been a dream final became a bronze medal match

ASIAD-2018-FHOCKEY Indian players celebrate after scoring a goal during the men's field hockey bronze medal match against Pakistan at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta | AFP

What would have been a dream final became a bronze-medal match as India met Pakistan on September 1 to decide the third place in men's hockey. The atmosphere, regardless, was superb, as is expected from every meeting between the two countries.

India went on the offensive early, staying in Pakistan's half, and scored in the third minute. Akashdeep Singh shot the ball high into the net. Pakistan nearly equalised in the fifth minute, when a shot hit the post and went out. India did not relent, and had a shot saved by the Pakistan goalkeeper. Pakistan, on the other hand, got a few opportunities, but squandered them. India looked to attack throughout the first quarter, occasionally thwarting a Pakistan attack.

In the second minute of the second quarter, Pakistan had had a chance, but shot wide. They were clearly playing more aggressively in this quarter. Five minutes later, Pakistan got its first penalty corner, which it failed to convert. But it got another chance as the ball hit an Indian player's leg on the way out. Pakistan took the shot, but P.R. Sreejesh saved it. But Pakistan kept the pressure on. India retaliated with two shots on goal in the 28th minute. At half time, India kept its lead.

In the third quarter, it went back and forth for the first four minutes, before S.V. Sunil had a close chance. He could not connect properly from the diagonal pass in front of the Pakistan goal. Both teams wanted a goal. India to extend its lead and seal the deal, and Pakistan to equal its rival. Pakistan won a penalty corner in the 38th minute, and again failed to score. Both teams then had chances, but did not hit the net. Some good defending by India in this quarter kept the Pakistanis at bay.

It was a relatively tame start to the last quarter, with no chances being created in the opening three minutes. In the fifth minute of the quarter, India won its first penalty corner and converted it to take a decisive lead. Harmanpreet Singh scored. Pakistan, however, came back with a field goal by Muhammad Atiq in the seventh minute. Within a minute, India got its second penalty corner, and Rupinder Pal Singh shot it wide. Both teams created a few more opportunities, but could not score. At the final whistle, it was India 2 and Pakistan 1.