India cap off the Asian Games with a medal. But not the one they wanted. They played better than they did against Malaysia in the semi-final. The defence was upto the task when Pakistan were on an all out attack in the second quarter. The Pakistanis were unlucky on a couple of instances though. Once they even had the ball kissing the goal line. Had it gone in a couple of centimeters, the match could have gone in their favour. Overall, India – despite the bronze – would go home disappointed having missed a direct qualification for the Olympics. Back to the drawing board for Harendra Singh and his boys now.
HOOTER! It’s done. India will finish with a bronze medal at the Asian Games. Pakistan, for the first time, will end the Games without a medal. A fast-paced match that was gripping till the end.
Fourth quarter (less than 1 minute to go) India 2-1 Pakistan: Less than sixty seconds to go and the Pakistanis are fighting tooth and nail to get the ball back from India.
Fourth quarter (2 minutes to go) India 2-1 Pakistan: Pakistan substitute their goalkeeper Imran Butt so they have an extra outfield player.
Fourth quarter (3 minutes to go) India 2-1 Pakistan: Brilliant run by Vivek Prasad from outside the D to alarmingly close to the goal. He wades through the crowd of Pakistani defence and hurriedly makes an attempt at the goal. But his shot is saved.
Fourth quarter (7 minutes to go) India 2-1 Pakistan: Penalty Corner – second one for Team India. Rupinder Pal Singh’s drag flick misses the net. Was inches wide of the net. Rupinder will be disappointed with that effort.
GOAL! Pakistan score with two minutes of India’s second goal. The defence was caught napping. Muhammad Atiq was left unmarked. This goal could have been avoided. Pakistan are back in this contest immediately.
GOAL! Superb drag flick by Harmanpreet Singh. India score off their first Penalty Corner. He hits it to the right bottom corner and a diving Imran Butt can’t save the ball. India can breathe easy with the goal.
Fourth quarter (13 minutes to go) India 1-0 Pakistan: India, still, largely looking to defend in the last quarter. Maybe Malaysia’s last quarter goal in the semi-final still haunts them and so, they are taken extra precautions. But a defensive mindset in the last quarter might backfire.
End of third quarter, India 1-0 Pakistan: With less than a minute to go, Pakistan made a dangerous attack. But Manpreet Singh intercepted the ball from them on time to thwart the danger. One more quarter to go and India, with just a one-goal lead, will still be nervous.
Third quarter (2 minutes to go) India 1-0 Pakistan: India try to hold the ball as much as possible. As the time runs out, Pakistan’s desperation to equalise grows.
Third quarter (4 minutes to go) India 1-0 Pakistan: Pakistan in control at the moment. They are constructing a dangerous attack. They have been passing well. India’s intensity seems to have dropped a little.
Third quarter (6 minutes to go) India 1-0 Pakistan: Penalty Corner for Pakistan! Muhammad Irfan’s mighty drive is blocked superbly by Manpreet Singh.
Third quarter (8 minutes to go) India 1-0 Pakistan: Both teams stealing the ball from each other. Pakistan looking to make inroads with time running out. Pakistan have been better in the midfield.
Third quarter (11 minutes to go) India 1-0 Pakistan: Oh, that was SO close! Akashdeep, on a swift counterattack, swivels to lose a Pakistani defender and reverse hits to SV Sunil rishing to the Pakistani goalmouth. But despite a dive, Sunil can’t get there on time. But he was inches away from scoring.
Third quarter (13 minutes to go) India 1-0 Pakistan: Good start by the Indians. They enter the Pakistani circle, switching from one flank to the other through overhead passes. The Pakistani defence under pressure.
Alright folks, third quarter underway...
End of second quarter, India 1-0 Pakistan: India have taken control of the game in the last five minutes or so. They have been on the attack and came close to scoring a couple of occasions. But the score remains 1-0. This match could still go anyway. It’s been an even contest so far.
Second quarter (4 minutes to go) India 1-0 Pakistan: A rare lapse of concentration by the Pakistani defenders. They let the ball get easily to SV Sunil, who just had the ‘keeper to beat. But the Pakistani goalie, Imran Butt, holds his nerves. After saving the ball, he’s livid with his team’s defenders though.
Second quarter (6 minutes to go) India 1-0 Pakistan: Pakistan is relentlessly attacking and breaching the Indian circle. Seems like it’s just a matter of time before they equalise in this match.
Second quarter (8 minutes to go) India 1-0 Pakistan: Penalty Corner for Pakistan! Mahmood Abu Baker strikes. Looks like it has hit the foot of Varun Kumar. Another PC for Pakistan. Great save and good work by the Indian defence to keep the rebounds away. They make a swift counterattack.
Second quarter (11 minutes to go) India 1-0 Pakistan: Pakistan have managed to put India on the backfoot with an all out attack in the second quarter. Despite India’s lead, the momentum seems to be with Pakistan now.
Second quarter (13 minutes to go) India 1-0 Pakistan: Ooh, very, very close. Muhammed Dilber, from the top of the D, unleashes a drive that goes inches wide of the Indian net. Pakistan have been putting pressure on the Indians in the second quarter early on.
End of first quarter, India 1-0 Pakistan: A blistering first quarter. Not one uneventful moment. India have capitalised on the early pressure they built on Pakistan and scored through Akashdeep Singh. They came very close to scoring the second goal in the dying seconds of the first quarter but Mandeep Singh’s shot went just wide.
First quarter (2 minutes to go) India 1-0 Pakistan: India’s passing quality has gone down a little in the last couple of minutes. Losing possession often. The long balls are being intercepted by Pakistan.
First quarter (4 minutes to go) India 1-0 Pakistan: Almost another goal for India. Harmanpreet sent a long ball from the half-line. Lalit Upadhyay couldn’t judge the flight of the ball and misses it near the goalmouth.
First quarter (6 minutes to go) India 1-0 Pakistan: India quickly moving the ball from defence to attack. Their long balls have worked superbly so far.
First quarter (8 minutes to go) India 1-0 Pakistan: You could see that the Indians, despite the loss against Malaysia, are high on energy. The pace has been blistering by both teams.
First quarter (10 minutes to go) India 1-0 Pakistan: Pakistani make a quick counterattack. They make a good attempt, beat goalkeeper Sreejesh and the ball hit the post, touched the goal line but doesn’t go inside it. Pakistan think it was a goal, go for a referral and lose it.
GOAL! The Indian supporters go berserk with that goal by Akashdeep Singh. Lalit Kumar burst into the Pakistani circle, from the left, he reverse-hits to Akashdeep in the opposite end of the net. Akashdeep hits it to the top left corner of the net.
First quarter (13 minutes to go) India 0-0 Pakistan: Good, brisk start by India. They have kept the ball to themselves. Passing well and close to the Pakistan circle, putting them under pressure.
The teams are out, a raucous crowd in the stands chanting, “jeetega, jeetega, India jeetega”, reminding us that this is India vs Pakistan – used to be a much more high voltage affair though.
Journey to the bronze medal match:-
India: beat Indonesia 17-0, beat Hong Kong China 26-0, beat Japan 8-0, beat Korea 5-3, beat Sri Lanka 20-0, lost to Malaysia 2-2 (6-7 in shootouts)
Pakistan: beat Thailand 10-0, beat Kazakhstan 16-0, beat Malaysia 4-1, beat Bangladesh 5-0, lost to Japan 0-1
3:30 pm Hello and welcome to the live coverage of the bronze medal match between India and Pakistan. These two teams were touted to meet in the final. It was a shock that they, especially India, lost in the semi-final stage. For they were the highest ranked team in the tournament and were expected to win and book a spot in the Olympics. Now they will have to fight for bronze. The last time the Indian men’s hockey team finished without a medal at the Asian Games was in 2006. They’d be down after missing the final. But they need to be at their best to defeat Pakistan today.