India’s Karti Selvam scored on his debut.
A young Indian men’s hockey team opened its title defence with a 1-1 draw against arch-rivals Pakistan in their first group A match of the Hero Asia Cup at the GBK Stadium here on Monday.
Selvam Karthi (9th minute) scored his first international goal for India, while Pakistan equalised through Abdul Rana’s (59th) penalty corner strike.
In the first quarter, there were a flurry of penalty corners for both the teams. While Pakistan secured two, India managed as many as three, the last of which resulted in a goal.
India took the lead in the eighth minute through debutant Karthi, who scored his first international goal from a penalty corner. After the start of the second quarter, India had the first shy at the goal but an alert Pakistan goalkeeper Akmal Hussain made a quick reflex save from close range to keep out Pawan Rajbhar’s effort.
India secured a penalty corner in the second quarter in the 21st minute but the title holders failed to convert the chance into another goal. In the 28th minute, Pakistan too got a penalty corner, their third, but once again they failed to stop the push, thereby wasting a bright chance.
After the change of ends, Pakistan started on an attacking note, albeit for a brief period, and secured their third penalty corner but Rizwan Ali’s shot went wide.
India goalkeeper Suraj Karkera then saved an effort from Abdul Rana from close quarters. But as time lapsed swiftly, the Indians again took control of the proceedings and secured a handful of penalty corners but they failed to get past an alert Hussain in front of Pakistan goal as the scores remained tied after third quarter.
With little over a minute to go for the final hooter, India conceded a penalty corner and Rana scored from a rebound to draw parity. “I think India could not read our strategies. I am quite satisfied with how we performed and played disciplined hockey with good structure,” expressed Pakistan’s newly-appointed coach Siegfried Aikman.
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