The Indian men’s Under-18 hockey team on Friday registered an emphatic 5-4 win against Bangladesh in the final of the Asia Cup in Dhaka.
India scored in the last 20 seconds to outplay Bangladesh in the summit clash.
Earlier on Thursday, India outplayed arch-rivals Pakistan 3-1 to enter the final of the tournament.
India started off the proceedings on a good note and rotated the ball patiently between themselves as they searched for an opening. They did not commit forward in numbers, instead building up play carefully, before penetrating the circle.
The approach paid off as they won their first PC in the 6th minute. After an initial error, India recovered and improvised to take a shot on goal, but the attempt ran wide.
The game dropped into a predictable rhythm, India holding the possession while Bangladesh waited for the counter. From a counter, Bangladesh won a PC, and after the initial save by Pankaj Kumar Rajak, another player M Roman Sarkar scored to give the hosts the lead.
India then equalised as Shivam Anand picked up a pass on the edge of the circle and cut back in, running past two Bangladesh defenders to execute a perfect reverse flick into the net.
India had another PC in the final minute of play, but another error denied them a goal. From a counter Bangladesh ran through the midfield, before a cross from the left found Mohammad Mohsin who deflected the ball to give Bangladesh the lead.
India scored after half time to level the scores, via Hardik Singh's PC before Dilpreet Singh scored to give them the lead.
In a topsy-turvy game, almost a copy of their opening game encounter Bangladesh equalised with Mohammed Ashraful Islam in the 60th minute.
With the scores tied and the threat of a shootout looming, Ibungo Singh Konjengbam fired India back in front. The hosts were not to be denied though, Mahabub Hossain levelling the score after a quick counter in the 64th minute.
However, a quick counter saw Abhishek in the box and his deflection, with seconds left to the hooter, took India to the title.
Soon after the match, Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel congratulated the team:
Home Minister Rajnath Singh also tweeted and wrote, “Happy to see the future of Indian hockey in safe hands”:
Congratulations to Indian U-18 Hockey team on winning the Asia Cup finals in Dhaka. Happy to see the future of Indian hockey in safe hands.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) September 30, 2016
Indian men's hockey captain PR Sreejesh tweeted:
(With inputs from IANS)