Pakistan rally to beat India in Azlan Shah Cup
Pakistan trailed 0-1 in the first half but scored thrice in the second to win 3-1.
New Delhi: A resurgent Pakistan came from behind to beat arch rivals India 3-1 in The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia, on Wednesday.
With this win, Pakistan broke a series of four wins India had managed to string together over them in the past year, with the 3-2 loss at the Guangzhou Asian Games being the latest.
The pace of the match wasn't anything like the usual India-Pakistan encounter as too many infringements in the first few minutes led to a stop-start beginning with no real threat on either goal.
However, it was Pakistan that seemed to gain some momentum as India opted to let the arch rivals come at them.
But India earned the first penalty corner (PC) in the 14th minute. Dhananjay Mahadik took the shot and the rebound was sent into the goal by Shivender Singh. However, umpire Roderick - who first gave it as a goal - consulted his colleague on the other side of the pitch and disallowed the goal, much to the excitement of Pakistani fans in the stadium.
From thereon, India became the more attacking team which brought about their second PC in the 21st minute. And this time India's find of the tournament Rupinder Pal Singh made no mistake to give India the lead.
Pakistan countered soon thereafter and won their first penalty corner in the 25th minute, which gave a chance to the dangerous Sohail Abbas to equalise. Sohail, though, uncharacteristically chose to go for a grounded drag that ended up going wide on the right side of the Indian goal.
With the game opening up, both teams threatened the shooting circle, with India managing to get another PC two minutes from halftime. But a good save by Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Shah denied Rupinder his second goal, which was followed by the halftime hooter.
The second half opened up at a brisk pace as Pakistan returned with their customary flair but Rupinder shielded Rehan Butt's shot on goal in the 43rd minute.
With 22 minutes left on the clock, Shakeel Abbasi and Waseem Ahmed tried to get things moving for Pakistan, with India showing signs of brilliance in between.
But it was Mohd. Umar Bhutta who drew level for Pakistan in the 49th minute as the match opened up.
Though not a classic, the second half was turning out to be much entertaining than the first; however, it was Pakistan who provided more spark on the field.
Pakistan's continuous forays finally broke the deadlock as Mohammad Imran converted another penalty corner awarded in the 56th minute to make it 2-1.
By now, scales were strongly tilted towards Pakistan who went on an all-out attack and penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas finally got his name on the goal-scoring sheet with a strong drag flick off a PC that made it 3-1 in favour of Pakistan in the 57th minute.
Thereafter, India played catch-up and though both teams failed to score off the remaining chances they created before the final hooter, a 3-1 win for Pakistan clearly reflected that India were a distant second.
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