India and Pakistan renewed their hockey rivalry on Tuesday at the Major Radhakrishnan Stadium in Chennai in the last league match of the Asian Champions Trophy 2023. India, who had already qualified for the semi-finals, showed no mercy to their arch-rivals and hammered them 4-0 to top the group and set up a clash with Japan in the last four. Pakistan, who needed a draw to secure their semi-final berth, were knocked out of the tournament by the hosts. Here are some highlights from the match
Asian Champions Trophy 2023: India vs Pak Hockey
Harmanpreet Singh’s Brace
The Indian captain led from the front and scored two goals from penalty corners in the first and third quarters. He showed his drag-flicking skills and accuracy as he beat the Pakistani goalkeeper twice with powerful shots. He also became the joint top-scorer of the tournament with six goals.
Jugraj Singh’s Stunning Goal
The young forward scored a sensational goal in the second quarter to double India’s lead. He received a pass from Nilakanta Sharma on the right flank and dribbled past two defenders before unleashing a reverse hit that flew into the top corner of the net. It was his third goal of the tournament and one of the best in the competition.
Akashdeep Singh’s Solo Effort
The experienced striker added to Pakistan’s misery in the fourth quarter with a brilliant solo effort. He intercepted a pass from a Pakistani defender near the half-line and ran towards the goal with speed and skill. He dodged past three defenders and slotted the ball past the goalkeeper with a calm finish. It was his fourth goal of the tournament and sealed India’s win.
India’s Defensive Solidity
India did not concede a single goal in the match and kept their third clean sheet of the tournament. They defended well as a unit and did not allow Pakistan any clear chances. They also made good use of their video referrals and overturned two penalty corner decisions in their favour. Goalkeeper Krishan Pathak made some crucial saves when required and ensured that India maintained its dominance.
Pakistan’s Poor Performance
Pakistan had a disappointing outing and failed to match India’s intensity and quality. They looked nervous and made several errors in defence and attack. They could not convert any of their four penalty corners and wasted their video referrals. They also received two green cards and one yellow card for their indiscipline. They finished fifth in the group and missed out on the semi-finals.
India’s Semi-Final Opponent
India will face Japan in the semi-final on Thursday. Japan finished fourth in the group after losing to Malaysia 3-2 in their last match. Japan had beaten India 2-1 in their previous encounter in the Asia Cup 2022. India will look to avenge that defeat and book their place in the final.
India produced a clinical performance and outplayed Pakistan in all departments. They showed their class and confidence and registered their biggest win over Pakistan in Asian Champions Trophy history. They also topped the group with 13 points from five matches and advanced to the semi-finals with ease. They will face Japan in the semi-final and hope to continue their winning run.
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