The Indian men’s junior hockey team played out a thrilling 1-1 draw against Pakistan in their third Pool A game at the Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 in Salalah, Oman on Saturday. Sharda Nand Tiwari (24’) scored a goal for India, while Basharat Ali (44’) was the goal-scorer for Pakistan.
India were on the attack from the get-go and displayed a pressing game to put Pakistan under pressure. The Indian team also won a couple of penalty corners early in the game but couldn’t capitalise on them. Pakistan, on the other hand, managed to create few chances and even came close to scoring through a penalty corner but Indian goalkeeper Amandeep Lakra stood strong to keep Pakistan attackers at bay as the opening quarter of the game ended goalless.
However, India broke the deadlock in the second quarter as Tiwari brilliantly converted a penalty corner to give his team a much-needed lead in the intense game. With the scoreline in their favour, the Indian Colts started playing more confidently and even troubled the Pakistan’s defensive line on numerous occasions, but couldn’t find the back of the net for the second time in the second quarter as they went into the half-time break with the 1-0 lead.
Desperate to find an equaliser, the Pakistan team entered the third quarter of the match with an attacking mindset and it paid off as Basharat Ali (44’) scored a field goal to level the score as the third quarter ended with the score tied at 1-1.
Keen to regain the advantage, India came out all guns blazing in the fourth quarter of the match and started playing aggressively, while Pakistan continued to attack on the counter. However, despite both teams coming close to scoring quite a few times, neither of them was able to find the back of the net in the last quarter as the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
Notably, both India and Pakistan are unbeaten in the tournament so far and have accumulated seven points each from their respective three games so far in Pool A. However, Pakistan are leading the tally and are positioned over second-placed India on the basis of goal difference.
India next plays Thailand in their last pool game on May 28.