Ordos (China), Sep 11 (IANS) India registered a sensational 4-2 victory over arch-rivals Pakistan via the tie-breaker to lift the first edition of the men's hockey Asian Champion Trophy here Sunday.
The star of the match was Indian goalkeeper S. Sreejes, who made two saves in the shoot-out to ensure the win.
The match ended goalless after the regulation time and even 15 hours of extra time failed to produce any result. At the end it were the shots from one-to-one situation with the goalkeeper in the tie-breaker that sealed the match in India's favour.
"This is a great win. Both teams played well and had enough chances. But it is fantastic to see an young Indian side with such a prestigious tournament," said Indian coach Michael Nobbs. This was his first international assignment with the Indian team
India started the shoot-out on a wrong note after Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Shah saved Gurwinder Singh Chandi's shot. Sreejes then defended Haseem Abdul Khan's shot and Danish Mujtaba's sounded the board as India led 1-0. Pakistan equalised with Muhammad Rizwan but Indian captain Rajpal Singh converted to give the team a 2-1 lead.
Sreejes made another crucial save as he stopped Shafqat Rasool and Yuvraj Walmiki made it 3-1 for India. Pakistan veteran Waseem Ahmed made it 3-2 but Sarvanjit Singh struck the final shot to ensure the win for India.
Earlier, both India and Pakistan wasted several scoring oppotunities. Pakistan failed to convert any of the seven penalty corners thanks to some brilliant goalkeeping by Sreejes. India earned just one penalty corner.
Pakistan played an attacking game in the first half pushing the Indian defence back. The experienced Shakeel Abassi made some fine runs to prise open the Indian defence but failed to get past defender V. Raghunath.
Mujtaba came close to open the scoring for India in the 56th minute but shot wide when he had just the goalkeeper to beat. Walmiki wasted another shot from a similar situation with just five minutes left for the regulation time.
Meanwhile, Firhan Ashari scored with exactly seven seconds on the clock as Malaysia beat Japan to win the bronze medal.