Pakistan outsmarts India in men’s hockey

Pakistan played with purpose and organisation to outplay host India 2-1 in a men’s round-robin pool match here at the Maulana Tayabullah Stadium, Bhetapara, on Monday. Muhammad Arslan Qadir scored both the Pakistan goals in either half while Indian captain Mandeep Antil reduced the margin in the second period.

Qadir Muhammad Arslan of Pakistan along with his teammates celebrates after scoring against India in a round robin match, at Guwahati, on Monday.   -  PTI

Pakistan played with purpose and organisation to outplay host India 2-1 in a men’s round-robin pool match here at the Maulana Tayabullah Stadium, Bhetapara, on Monday. Muhammad Arslan Qadir scored both the Pakistan goals in either half while Indian captain Mandeep Antil reduced the margin in the second period.

Pakistan started with a plan and executed it well, taking control of the midfield right from the start. India, defending for most of the occasion, lacked direction and its weakness was exposed. Fareed Ahmed set up Qadir in the 11th minute with a pass inside the semi-circle and the latter, who was located unchallenged, used the free space to place the ball past a hapless Vikas Dahiya in goal.

Chances at a premium

India did not make enough circle penetrations as Pakistan showed better coordination in defence. The only good chance, a penalty corner in the 27th minute, was wasted by India as there was no one to avail the push by Gagandeep Singh.

Pakistan continued its dominance after the change of ends and doubled the lead two minutes into the second half when it exploited the confusion in the Indian defence once again. Qadir was located again unmarked by a smart pass from the midfield and the Pakistan forward made no mistake with his finishing. India won back-to-back penalty corners in the 42nd minute but Manpreet Singh was not sharp enough with his drag-flicks to beat Pakistani goalkeeper Imran Butt.

Indian captain Mandeep Antil finally put a diving effort to guide home a snap reverse shot from the left by Abhay Ekka, to make it 2-1 in the 53rd minute. India failed to find the equaliser in the remainder of the action as Pakistan consolidated its defence effectively.

The result: Pakistan 2 (Muhammad Arslan Qadir 11, 37) bt India 1 (Mandeep Antil 53)w