India beat Pakistan by two wickets

Defending champions India bounced back from 2-0 down to hold arch-rivals Pakistan to a 3-3 draw in the Sultan of Johor Cup junior men’s hockey tournament here on Friday.

Ramandeep Lakra (30th minute), Aditya Arjun Lalage (56th minute) and Uttam Singh (59th minute) scored goals for India. Arbaaz Ahmed (31st, 58th) and Abdul Shahid (49th) scored goals for Pakistan. Both the teams performed as per their reputation in the opening match of the tournament. The tournament will be a tough test for all the teams ahead of the Junior World Cup to be held in Malaysia in December.

India got its first chance to score in the 12th minute but Angad Bir Singh’s shot did not reach the target. Both the teams did not show much aggression in the first quarter but their defense was good. Pakistan started the second quarter strongly and won a penalty in the first minute but the Indian team defended it well. India got the first penalty corner but could not take advantage of it.

Drag-flicker Amardeep gave India the lead just before half-time, but after a change of ends, Abraaj Ahmed equalized the score by converting a penalty in the first minute. After this the Indian team became aggressive. In the 39th minute, Poovana Bobby Chandura took a good shot on goal, but it was saved by Pakistani goalkeeper Ali Raza.

After the third quarter the score remained tied at 1-1. Pakistan captain Abdul Shahid gave his team the lead by tricking Indian goalkeeper Mohit in the 49th minute. A minute later, India got a penalty corner but failed to convert it. With five minutes left in the game, India got another penalty corner, which Aditya scored on the rebound.

However, Arbaaz soon converted a penalty corner to put Pakistan ahead again. Uttam equalized for India with a field goal a minute before the final hooter. India’s next match will be against Malaysia on Saturday.