Jakarta: Asia Cup men’s hockey tournament got underway in Jakarta. Defending champions India played against archrival Pakistan in their opening encounter. As usual, the Indo-Pak hockey encounter reached its climax. India conceded a late goal to allow Pakistan to walk away with a 1-1 draw in their Pool A fixture on Monday night.
India started its campaign with a bang and created several openings to score but failed to capitalise on them. Karthi Selvam was the first who sounded the board for India in the ninth minute. Boys in green repeatedly penetrated the Indian defence and pressed hard for the equaliser. In the end, Abdul Rana succeeded in the 59th minute and scored via a penalty corner.
The next opponent of India will be Japan on Tuesday.
In the match against India, Pakistani goalkeeper Akmal Hussain stole the show. He saved several shots hit by Indians during the match. Showing fine reflex, the Pakistani goalie denied Pawan Rajbhar from scoring a certain goal.
The second string Indian team dominated throughout the match and most of the time possessed the ball with them, but could not capitalise on scoring chances. Pakistan’s counterattack was very dangerous and earned some penalty corners.
Credit should be given to Pakistani goalie Hussain, who stood like a rock in front of his team’s goal mouth and denied India the chance to score further and consolidate its position.
The Pakistanis found the Indian defence napping in the 59th minute, resulting in the award of a penalty corner to Pakistan. Rana did the rest and scored the all-important equalizer.
In the other matches of the day, Malaysia defeated Oman 7-0 and Korea overpowered Bangladesh 6-1 in Pool B, while Japan outplayed hosts Indonesia 9-0 in Pool A.