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Hockey: India edge Pakistan for Asian Games gold, Rio 2016 spot

India won their third Asian Games title after wins in 1966 and 1998, both in Bangkok. Photo: Asian Hockey Federation.

India won their third Asian Games title after wins in 1966 and 1998, both in Bangkok. Photo: Asian Hockey Federation.

October 2, 2014: India’s men won their third Asian Games gold – and a spot in the 2016 Olympics – with a 4-2 shootout victory over 2010 champion Pakistan, the eight-time winners competing in the final for the 11th time in 15 editions.

 

India, playing in their 12th Asian Games final since hockey was introduced in 1958, won the shootout following a 1-1 draw in regulation time, after hosts Korea won the bronze medal by beating Malaysia 3-2.

 

The much-anticipated showdown between historic rivals India and Pakistan was a classic, as the sub-continental neighbours played out a nail-biting contest.

 

Pakistan started the brighter of the two teams and took an early lead when Muhammad Rizwan Sr. fired in from the top of the circle. India battled hard to get an equaliser and eventually drew level when Kothajit Khadangbam diverted a superb close-range deflection past Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Butt.

 

In the second half, the action swung frenetically from one end to the other, but despite numerous chances, neither side found a breakthrough, leading to a shootout.

 

In the first four pairings, two players from Pakistan and one from India failed to convert their chances, meaning that if India scored from their next attempt, the title and Olympic qualification would be theirs. The responsibility fell on the shoulders of Dharamvir Singh, who made no mistake to seal India’s win.

 

Despite the defeat, Pakistan’s dream of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games is not over as they now target a successful run in the Hockey World League, where Olympic berths are up for grabs in the Semi-Final events.

 

Korea started their bronze-medal clash brightly, but Malaysia countered well and denied their higher-ranked opponents clear sights of goal. The hosts then stepped up the pressure in the second quarter, converting their superiority into a 2-0 half time lead.

 

Malaysia reduced the deficit with a penalty stroke at the beginning of the second half before Jang Jong-hyun restored the two-goal cushion with a penalty stroke of his own. The third penalty stroke of the match was awarded to Malaysia, who converted to claw back to 3-2, but Korea protected their lead to seal bronze.

 

Thursday’s action started with Japan facing China for fifth place. Japan looked more assertive early on, culminating in a goal by Kei Kawakami at the start of the second quarter. However, China picked up speed and eventually levelled the scores in the third quarter before winning the shootout 4-3.

 

Asian Games Men’s Hockey – October 2, 2014
Fifth place: Japan 1-1 (1-0) China; 3-4 shootout
Bronze Medal: Korea 3-2 (2-0) Malaysia
Final: India 1-1 (1-1) Pakistan; 4-2 shootout

 

Source: FIH (www.fih.ch); Editing by SportAsia

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