Dhaka: India outplayed Pakistan 3-1 to set up a title showdown with hosts Bangladesh in the Under-18 Asia Cup hockey tournament here on Thursday.
Forward Shivam Anand (7th minute), striker Dilpreet Singh (32nd) and captain Nilam Sanjeep Xess (46th) scored for India to make it 3-0 before Amjad Ali Khan pulled one back for Pakistan in the 63rd minute.
Both teams had scored a high number of goals in the group stage so an attacking encounter was expected. Both the team showcased their traditional counter-attacking game but India’s attack was more accurate, as was its timing.
India’s link-up play between the midfield and attack proved to be the difference in their strong start to the match. India drew first blood when Shivam Anand scored a field goal in the seventh minute.
Throughout the first half India and Pakistan attacked each other furiously, making several circle incursions. It was India who were more clinical in front of the goal, and three minutes from the end of the half they doubled their lead with a penalty corner goal by Dilpreet.
The second half had a similar start to the first, India on the ascendancy, controlling possession and applying the pressure.
Soon enough they won a penalty corner, and from the flick, a foul gave them a stroke. Waqar in Pakistan’s goal saved the stroke to keep his side in the game. Within minutes though, the third goal arrived, Sanjeep converting another penalty corner to give India a comfortable 3-0 lead.
At this point, it was a stroll in the park for the Indians who enjoyed their 3-0 lead. And Pakistan soon started capitulating under pressure, and two of their players were penalised for technical fouls in the latter stages of the game.
They managed to grab a goal back in the 63rd minute via Amjad, but it proved to be too little too late as India held on to take a 3-1 victory.
Indian midfielder Kunwardilraj Singh received the Man-of-the-Match award.