Favourites India continued their winning momentum defeating arch-rivals Pakistan 3-1 in a pool encounter of the 10th men's Asia Cup hockey tournament in Dhaka on Sunday. After the two easy wins against Japan (5-1) and hosts Bangladesh (7-0), as expected India had a relatively tough outing against Pakistan but managed to maintain their all-win record.
India controlled the proceedings for the better part of the match, barring the final quarter when Pakistan, trailing 0-3, came hard on the Indian defence in search of goals.
But at the end of the day, the Indians came out superior and continued their recent domination over Pakistan, that includes back-to-back victories in the Hockey World League Semi-Final in London earlier this year.
Chinglesnsana Singh (17th minute), Ramandeep Singh (44th) and Harmanpreet Singh (45th) scored the goals for India, while Pakistan lone strike came from the stick of Ali Shan in the 49th minute.
By virtue of this win, India finished on top of Pool A with nine points from three games while Pakistan secured the second spot with four points.
Both India and Pakistan have managed to secure their place in the round-robin Super 4 stage of the tournament.
Even though Japan defeated hosts Bangladesh 3-1 earlier in the day, the victory was not for them to enter the Super 4 stage as they lost out to Pakistan on goal difference.
Contrary to the win, Pakistan had the first real scoring chance when they earned their first penalty corner but they wasted it.
The Indians came out hard in the second quarter and took the lead in the 17th minute through Chinglesnsana, who slammed home after receiving a fine pass from Akashdeep Singh, who was operating in the wide right.
Three minutes later, Gurjant Singh's reverse hit from the right flank was just off target.
After wasting another penalty corner, Pakistan were denied by young India goalkeeper Suraj Karkera, who saved Mohammed Attiq's shot from close range as India went into the breather leading by a goal.
India replaced Karkera with Akash Chikte in the goal at the halfway mark and the young custodian came up with a superb save in the 40th minute to deny Pakistan.
India secured their first penalty corner soon but Varun Kumar's grounded flick was wide off the target.
Soon Gurjant had a great chance to consolidate India's lead but his push, after a fine one-two with Akashdeep was saved by the Pakistani goalkeeper.
After Pakistan wasted their third penalty corner, Ramandeep doubled India's lead in the 44th minute with a neat deflection off Harmanpreet Singh's fantastic cross from the middle of the pitch.
India extended their lead in the very next minute from their second penalty corner through Harmanpreet.
Pakistan, who looked more purposeful in the fourth and final quarter, reduced the margin in the 49th minute through Shan's field strike.
Chikte once again came to India's rescue soon, when he denied Pakistan with a fine save from their fourth penalty corner.
Thereafter, India pressed hard and earned as many as three penalty corners in succession but wasted all.
(With PTI Inputs)