Gold Coast: The opening match of the Indian hockey team at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games turned into a thriller when Pakistan came back strong in the dying second of the game to hold a leading India at 2-2.
India were leading 2-0 till the first half of the game, but Pakistan scored an equaliser with just seven seconds to spare.
Goals for India were scored by Dilpreet Singh (13th minute) and Harmanpreet Singh (19th minute) while Muhammad Irfan Jr (38th minute) and Ali Mubashar (59th minute) scored for Pakistan.
India took the lead in the closing stages of the first quarter when Dilpreet Singh hammered the ball into the net off SV Sunil’s pass.
India’s got its first penalty corner in the second quarter of the game but Rupinder Pal Singh missed to send it home. Another one was missed by Harmanpreet Singh.
However, India did not fail in the third attempt and took a 2-0 lead through Harmanpreet.
Pakistan managed to earn a couple of penalty corners against a dominant India but failed to convert any as India went into the halftime with a 2-0 lead.
India won a penalty corner quite early in the third quarter but Rupinder Pal Singh’s shot was deflected to keep the scoreline unaffected.
Neither of the team managed to score in the third quarter as the two teams defended resolutely.
However, Pakistan stepped up the tempo in the last quarter and finally succeeded when forward Mohammed Irfan Junior put them on the scoring board with a field goal in the 38th minute.
With just seven seconds to go, Pakistan earned a penalty corner which was saved by goal-keeper Sreejesh. Pakistan then appealed for review claiming there was a foot involved from an Indian defender.
After video officials’ review, Pakistan earned another penalty corner and Ali Mubashar and they made the most of the decision to play a 2-2 draw.
India will take on Wales in their next game on Sunday and Indian coach Sjoerd Marijne insists that the team should focus on the matches to come. “This is a setback for us, but we need to come-back strong. The leaders in the team need to step up and lead the team by making good on-field decisions and ensure we stick to our game plan,” Marijne said.