SALALAH, May 28
India played out a thrilling 1-1 draw against arch-rivals Pakistan in their third Pool A game to continue their unbeaten run in the men's Junior Asia Cup hockey tournament in Salalah here.
Sharda Nand Tiwari (24th minute) gave India the lead in the high-stake match on late Saturday night but it was nullified by Basharat Ali in the 44th minute.
The result means India, with seven points from three matches, stays second in Pool A behind Pakistan (same points) but are ahead on goal difference.
Japan, who beat Chinese Taipei 10-1 earlier on Saturday, are third with six points from three outings.
India had earlier thrashed Chinese Taipei 18-0 before beating Japan 3-1 in their second match.
On Saturday night, the Indians went on the offensive from the word go and kept Pakistan defence under pressure with repeated forays.
India won a couple of penalty corners early in the game but couldn't capitalise on them.
Pakistan, on the other hand, also managed to create a few chances and even came close to scoring through a penalty corner but Indian goalkeeper Amandeep Lakra was rock solid in front of the goal as the opening quarter ended goalless.
However, India broke the deadlock in the second quarter when Sharda Nand brilliantly converted a penalty corner to give his team the much-needed lead.
Leading 1-0, the Indian colts started playing more confidently and troubled Pakistan's defense on numerous occasions but failed to find the back of the net for the second time in the second quarter to go into half time with the slender advantage.
Desperate to find the equaliser, Pakistan started with an attacking mindset after the change of ends and the move paid off as Basharat scored a field goal a minute from the third quarter to level the scores.
Keen to regain the advantage, India came out all guns blazing in the fourth quarter, while Pakistan relied more on counters.
However, despite both teams coming close to scoring quite a few times, neither side was able to find the back of the net as the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
India will Thailand in their last pool game on Sunday. PTI