PIC COURTESY OF SPORTS MEDIA GROUP.COM.AU
India came from a goal down to defeat Pakistan 3-1 to register their first win in the 22nd edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh.
The young Indian side showed plenty of maturity and composure to avenge the Indian defeat at the AHF Champions Trophy in Doha last December.
More importantly it kept the Indian hopes alive for a podium finish at the Azlan Shah Cup.
Pakistan took the lead in the 4th minute as skipper Muhammad Imran decided to relay the penalty corner attempt to the right for a diving Muhammad Waqas to turn into goal.
But India hit back in the very next minute when Rupinder Pal Singh sent in a pile driver of a flick sailing into the Pakistan net. Five minutes into the match and its 1-1.
India took the lead in the 9th minute when Akashdeep Singh pounced on the rebound after an initial attempt by Mandeep Singh came off Pakistan keeper Imran Shah who was playing in the place of regular Imran Butt.
Pakistan could have leveled in the 11th minute but Muhammad Irfan Junior made a hash of things with the goal gaping infront of him.
Pakistan were awarded penalty corners in the 15th, 25th and 35th minutes, but Imran could not find the target as India led 2-1 at halftime.
Pakistan dominated proceedings in the first ten minutes of the second half, thanks to the untiring Shafqat Rasool, but they just could not find the final touch.
In the 52nd minute Pakistan were awarded their fifth penalty corner but Imran pulled it just wide of the lef post and India sighed in relief.
Mandeep Singh and Malak Singh kept the Pakistani defenders busy with their constant pressure and that forced the Pakistani defenders into making long passes instead of building up from the back gradually.
In the 56th minute India went 3-1 up when Mandeep Singh picked up the rebound from his deflection to send the ball into the roof of the net.
Pakistan were then awarded their sixth penalty corner in the 58th minute, but Sreejesh denied Imran yet again with a diving save.
Two more penalty corners to Pakistan in the 64th and 65th minutes were also wasted and as the minutes ticked away, the youngsters of India started slowing the pace.
Pakistan were awarded their ninth penalty corner 40 seconds from time but failed to reduce the deficit.
And the young Indian side sank to their knees savouring a memorable win.