Indian hockey team on October 30th gifted the country a huge Diwali gift when they defeated arch rival Pakistan 3-2 to lift their second Asian Champions Trophy title.
The final was taking place at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium, Malaysia and India started the match on a dominating note when Rupinder Pal Singh scored India’s first goal at the 18th minute followed by Affan Yousuf scoring India’s second goal just five minutes later.
Pakistan though was not going to give up on the title that easily and made a strong comeback in the second and third quarter to lessen India’s lead in the 26th minute with a goal by Aleem Bilal, and then an equalizer by Ali Shan in the 38th minute.
The defending champions India though had much more to lose than just the title in the match, especially looking at the ongoing diplomatic feud between the two countries.
A month back, Indian Captian PR Sreejesh had made a commitment that India will defeat Pakistan for Indian soldiers who “sacrifice their lives in the exchange of fire at the borders.”
Keeping their promise, India thus once again dug deep and regained their fierce counter-attack in the final quarter.
They finally got a breakthrough in the 51st minute when Akashdeep Singh passed to forward Nikkin Thimmaiah on the left, who sounded the board with a drive, scoring the winner to reign the Asian Games champions title.
Even though captain Sreejesh was injured and could not play in the final, Indian defence stood tall in the match, with stand-in goalkeeper Akash Chikte making sure he up to the challenge to defend India’s title.
Last month, soon after the Uri Attack, Captain PR Sreejesh had said…
“India-Pakistan match brings a lot of excitement to the table. We want to give hundred per cent. We don’t want to disappoint our soldiers by losing, especially when they sacrifice their lives in the exchange of fire at the borders.”