Source: News Bharati English01 Nov 2016 10:28:49

Kuantan, November 1: Becoming the champions of Asia, Indian hockey team defeated the Pakistan team by 302 in a quick encounter in the final of the 4th Asian Champions Trophy. Having learnt from their group stage encounter, India refused to let Pakistan control the ball for the first quarter, closing them down high up the pitch and constantly hunting in packs. When in possession, they were always in control, passing the ball around neatly and quickly to penetrate Pakistan’s circle.
India had their first PC of the game in the 7th minute, and in a surprise move, Jasjit Singh stepped up to the drag flick. His attempt caught everyone off guard, but unfortunately went wide. Because of India’s unrelenting high line and pressure, Pakistan resorted to long aerial balls to get behind India’s defence.

It was through one of these that they fashioned their first chance of the game, but Akash Chikte was quick off his line to block any chance of an attempt on goal. The teams went into the first break locked in a stalemate.

In the second quarter, much like yesterday, Sardar Singh took charge, seeking possession of the ball, and acting as the lynchpin in the midfield. It was his pass to Pardeep Mor, three minutes into the quarter, that won India their second PC of the game. From the PC, Rupinder Pal Singh slotted his drag flick into the top corner to give India the lead.

India were in control now, and were playing hockey that had Pakistan constantly on the back foot. An outstanding bit of play, first from Akashdeep Singh and then Nikkin Thimmaiah, opened up a chance for Talwinder Singh to shoot from the top of the circle. His attempt went high.

Sardar was at the thick of it again, pinching the ball at the half way line before his pass sliced the Pakistan defence to reach Ramandeep at the right edge of the circle. Ramandeep’s shot to the second post was met perfectly by Affan Yousuf. India were two up. Pakistan won their first PC of the game in the 26th minute, and Muhammad Aleem Bilal’s conversion took them into half time trailing by a single goal.

Neither team dropped the intensity in the second half, constantly attacking each other’s goal without break. Pakistan scored in the 38th minute via Ali Shan a goal that drew them level at 2-2 going into the final break. In the final quarter, India started fast, desperate to find the goal that would give them the lead. Despite constant insertions and attacks into the Pakistan circle, their defence remained unreachable.

In the 51st minute, though Pakistan’s defence came undone. A brilliant one-two between Akashdeep Singh and Nikkin Thimmaiah split Pakistan open. The latter was open and in space to take a shot on goal, one he took smartly, into the bottom corner to shoot India into the lead.

Pakistan had their own opportunities at the close, but India’s defence stood their ground denying them off a final PC, before running down the clock, to give them the victory and with it the second Asian Champions Trophy Champions Title in its history.

On this memorable occasion, Hockey India today also announced a cash prize of Rs 2.00 Lakhs each for the players and the Chief Coach Roelant Oltmans. Besides this Hockey India also announced Rs 1.00 Lakh for the other support staff of the team. Prize of Rs 1.00 Lakh was announced for Rupinder Pal Singh – the Highest Scorer of the Tournament, plus Rs 1.00 Lakh for being adjudged the Best Player of the Tournament.