The Indian men’s hockey team were crowned champions at the inaugural Men’s Hockey5s Asia Cup on Saturday, which also served as Asia’s qualifying tournament for the FIH Men’s Hockey5s World Cup Oman 2024, defeating Pakistan 4-4 (2-0 SO) in the all-important Final.
Subsequently, India qualified for the FIH Men’s Hockey5s World Cup Oman 2024.
For India, Mohammed Raheel (19′, 26′) Jugraj Singh (7′), and Maninder Singh (10′) were on target in the regulation time, while Gurjot Singh and Maninder Singh scored for India in the Shoot-Out to script their win.
For Pakistan, Abdul Rehman (5′), Captain Abdul Rana (13′), Zikriya Hayat (14′), and Arshad Liaqat (19′) scored the goals.
It was a spirited start from India as they started pushing deep in Pakistan’s half straightaway. But Pakistan intercepted the ball and started threatening from the left flank.
Indian goalkeeper Suraj Karkera stepped up to make important saves, but Pakistan broke the resistance with Abdul Rehman (5′) getting the opening goal of the match. But Pakistan could not keep the Indian attackers quiet for too long, and Jugraj Singh (7′) provided the much-needed equalizer for India.
Three minutes later, India took lead in the match as Maninder Singh (10′) scored with a reverse hit from a distance. Pakistan Captain Abdul Rana (13′), and Zikriya Hayat (14′) scored two back-to-back late goals and the match went into halftime with Pakistan leading 3-2.
Trailing by a goal, India needed to deliver an urgent response in the second half, and the Mandeep Mor-led side started maintaining possession and pressing deeper in the opposition’s half. But Pakistan made the most of a Challenge as Arshad Liaqat (19′) struck the ball into the back of the nets.
Mohammed Raheel (19′) gave a response straightaway to pull a goal back for India. India started attacking from all corners, leading to Pakistan making a couple of crucial defensive errors.
After receiving a long pass, Mohammed Raheel (26′) dribbled past Pakistan’s defence and struck the ball into the nets to level the scoreline.
Both teams started searching for the winner as the clock started racing towards full time. The match went to the Shoot-Out after both teams remained locked in a stalemate at 4-4 at the end of the regulation time. Gurjot Singh and Maninder Singh scored for India, while Arshad Liaqat and Muhammad Murtaza missed their shots for Pakistan, and India won the match 4-4 (2-0 SO) to claim the trophy.
For their remarkable performance and the important win, Hockey India announced Rs 2.00 Lakh to each player of the team, while Rs 1.00 Lakh each for the support staff.
Congratulating the team on qualifying for the FIH Men’s Hockey5s World Cup Oman 2024 and winning the Gold medal, Hockey India President Padma Shri Dr Dilip Tirkey said, “I wish to congratulate the team on a remarkable performance in Oman and for winning the tournament after a fierce competition.
“It was a brilliant all-round display from everyone involved and our months of hard work and preparations have paid off. I offer my best wishes to the team for the FIH Men’s Hockey5s World Cup Oman 2024, and hope they will continue to shine.”
Hockey India Secretary General Bhola Nath Singh added, “I congratulate all the players and support staff for an incredible feat in the tournament. With the big win, the team has made the nation proud once again with their performance. We are confident our players will raise the Indian flag once again at the FIH Men’s Hockey5s World Cup Oman 2024 and our best wishes are with them for the tournament.”
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