New Delhi: Pakistan beat arch-rivals India 4-2 in a high-voltage penalty shoot-out after the 70th minute score read 1-1, to secure ninth position in the Hockey Junior World Cup at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here Saturday.
Having lost the chance to qualify for the quarterfinals, the Asian neighbours took on each other in the 9-10 classification playoff and the hosts disappointed the home crowd, who turned up in large numbers.
India took off well and started making inroads into the Pakistani striking circle but the visitors were quick to respond with counter attacks.
Pakistan drew first blood when Rizwan Ali executed an excellent pass from the midfield straight into the Indian goal past stopper Harjot Singh, who was left stranded.
The 7,000-strong crowd, still chanting “India jeetega” despite the goal, were silenced when Pakistan earned their first penalty corner in the ninth minute after a video-referral. However, luck was on India’s side and the visitors could not put in the ball, wasting their chance.
Indian forward Imran Khan, meanwhile, received two excellent passes in the D but could not hold on to either.
The quality of play wasn’t up to the mark and neither side could maintain possession due to poor passes. Pakistan dominated for a while, followed by India.
Pakistani goalie Mazhar Abbas was in top form and stopped almost everything that came his way, including a 19th minute shot thrown out by him.
In the 20th minute, Talwinder Singh found the ball in the Indian circle and took it the entire stretch of the pitch to the Pakistani goal but slipped and lost the chance to pass.
Just before the break, India created another chance via Mandeep Singh and Akashdeep Singh but the ball went just wide of the goal.
India finally got their first penalty corner in the 46th minute but a high drag flick by Gurjinder was easily deflected by Abbas.
The momentum was with the home team and Akashdeep found an excellent pass and shot at the goal but Abbas was having his day and stopped the ball in the 56th minute.
The crowd was getting restless with India trailing but their patience finally bore fruit in the 66th minute when India’s second penalty corner was converted by Gurjinder, with a low drag flick to Abbas’ left, to equalise and take the match into the penalty shoot-out.
After the first two shots were scored by both sides, the next one was missed by both to leave the score tied at 2-2.
Then, Pakistan captain Muhammed Umar Bhutta scored but India’s Satbir Singh missed, giving the visitors a 3-2 lead. With Pakistan needing to score to win, Muhammad Dilber struck to clinch the ninth position.