KUANTAN : Top-ranked India had to dig deep into their reserves to eke out a 3-2 victory over arch-rivals and defending champions Pakistan in a preliminary league match of the fourth Asian Champions Trophy hockey on Sunday.
India exhibited their composed defence when under pressure from early Pakistan raids and worked hard to gain control of the showpiece encounter of the tournament at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium.
Young striker Pradeep Mor scored his maiden goal in 13 international appearances to give India the lead in the 11th minute, but Pakistan then took charge through strikes from Muhammad Rizwan Sr. in the 31st minute and Muhammad Irfan Jr. in the 39th.
Rupinder Pal Singh converted India’s only penalty corner in the 43rd minute andRamandeep Singh came into goal-scoring action the following minute by deflecting in a diagonal cross from Talwinder Singh.
This victory gives India seven points from three outings. India had outplayed Japan 10-2 in their first outing, but were held to a 1-1 draw by South Korea yesterday.
Starting as two-time defending champions, Pakistan suffered a 2-4 loss to hosts Malaysia and then prevailed 1-0 over South Korea in their previous matches of the six-nation league.
Top four team from the round-robin competition will advance to the semi-finals.