India and Pakistan to clash in Asian Champions Trophy final
Ordos : India staged a remarkable fightback to hold Pakistan to a 2-2 draw in their last league match before depending on Malaysia’s heroics to set up a summit showdown with their arch rivals in the Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament here today.
While the 2-2 draw was enough to give Pakistan a berth in the final, India’s passage came only because Malaysia came from the dead to beat Japan 3-2 in their last league game.Malaysia was required to get the better of Japan to help India reach the final.
Unbeaten in the tournament, India dominated the barren first half but conceded two goals in two minutes to trail 0-2 by the 42nd minute only to come from behind to draw the match under chilly and windy conditions.
Pakistan took a 2-0 lead through Muhammad Waqas (40th minute) and Muhammad Irfan (42nd) but India responded immediately with Rupinder (46th) finding the target from an indirect penalty corner while Danish Mujtaba scored the equaliser in the 53rd minute.
Pakistan on 10 points and India with 9 points will battle for supremacy in the final on Sunday. Japan and Malaysia will now again play for the 3rd/4th position as they finished on an identical seven points.
Korea will play China for the 5th/6th position. Korea has seven points but an inferior goal difference (-1) pushed them down the table.The India-Pakistan clash turned out to be a thriller as both teams played their hearts out.
Mujtaba’s equaliser, a deflection from his stick, was a tad controversial as New Zealand umpire Simon Taylor did not initially award a goal. But the Indians appealed and the South Korean umpire, after consultations with Taylor, let the goal stand.