India beat Pakistan in penalty shootout in the final to win the inaugural Men’s Hockey 5s Asia Cup 2023 in Salalah, Oman, on Saturday.
Pakistan led 3-2 at half-time but the men in blue managed to come back and level the score at 4-4 before the full-time whistle.
In the shootout, Maninder Singh and Gurjot Singh scored for India while goalkeeper Suraj Karkera saved the attempts of both players from Pakistan - Arshad Liaqat and Muhammad Murtaza.
It was a spirited start from India as it started pushing deep in Pakistan’s half straightaway. But Pakistan intercepted the ball and started threatening from the left flank. Indian goalkeeper Suraj Karkera stepped up to make important saves, but Pakistan broke the resistance with Abdul Rehman (5’) getting the opening goal of the match. However, Pakistan could not keep the Indian attackers quiet for too long, and Jugraj Singh (7’) provided the much-needed equalizer for India. Three minutes later, India took lead as Maninder Singh (10’) scored with a reverse hit from a distance. Pakistan Captain Abdul Rana (13’), and Zikriya Hayat (14’) scored back-to-back late goals and the match went into halftime with Pakistan leading 3-2.
Trailing by a goal, India needed to deliver an urgent response in the second half, and the Mandeep Mor-led side started maintaining possession and pressing deeper in the opposition’s half. But Pakistan made the most of a challenge as Arshad Liaqat (19’) struck the ball into the back of the nets. Mohammed Raheel (19’) gave a response straightaway to pull a goal back for India. India started attacking from all corners, leading to Pakistan making a couple of crucial defensive errors. After receiving a long pass, Mohammed Raheel (26’) dribbled past Pakistan’s defence and struck the ball into the net to level the scoreline.
Hockey India announced Rs 2 Lakh for each player of the team, while Rs 1 Lakh each for the support staff.
India had already qualified for the 2024 FIH Hockey 5s World Cup with its victory over Malaysia in the semifinals.
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