U-18 Asia Cup: India to battle Pakistan in semi-finals

The two teams have enjoyed success before in the competition, India having been twice-winners in 2001 and fifth in 2009. Pakistan has also twice been part of the tournament, winning it in 2009 and finishing with Bronze in 2011.

Hockey India Pakistan Asia Cup

“The traditional rivalry adds a unique flavour to the contest, but we expect that. The boys are focused on the task at hand," said India coach BJ Kariappa, about India's clash against Pakistan.   -  PTI

A traditional rivalry will take centre-stage when India takes on Pakistan in the semi-finals of the Under-18 Asia Cup hockey tournament here tomorrow.

The two teams have enjoyed success before in the competition, India having been twice-winners in 2001 and fifth in 2009. Pakistan has also twice been part of the tournament, winning it in 2009 and finishing with Bronze in 2011.

In the ongoing tournament, the two teams have had a contrasting set of results. Pakistan has brushed past a relatively inexperienced and easy pool with ease, beating Chinese-Taipei 6-1 in its opener and China 6-0 in the next game. The team won its final game against Hong Kong 14-0 to top the group.

India faced a tough challenge against the host in the opening game of the tournament and went down 5-4 in what was arguably the most exciting match played yet. Brushing off that loss, it defeated Oman 11-0 to take its first points of the competition.

Indian forwards Ibungo Singh Konjengbam and Dilpreet Singh have been in sparkling form in the tournament with four goals each.

At the back, despite the disappointment of the first game, Captain Nilam Sanjeep Xess and goalkeeper Pankaj Kumar Rajak have been standout performers.

Speaking about the encounter Coach BJ Kariappa said, “The traditional rivalry adds a unique flavour to the contest, but we expect that. The boys are focused on the task at hand.

“Pakistan has been prolific in front of goal, so obviously we will need to tighten up our defensive structure in the game. On the other hand, I don’t think they have had to face an attacking side like ours, with this depth of talent yet, so it will be a challenge for them too,” he added.