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India are Asia Cup for Junior Men champions again

India’s captain Uttam Singh was declared man of the match.

Defending champions India justified its top ranking by retaining the AHF Junior Men Asia Cup Hockey title defeating its archrival and neighbors Pakistan 2-1 in an action-packed final at Sultan Qaboos Youth Complex for Culture and Entertainment at Salalah in Oman on Thursday. With this win, India has qualified for the FIH World Cup Hockey for Junior Men to be played in Kuala Lumpur later this year (December).

Along with India, Pakistan, Korea and Malaysia will be other Asian teams in the Kuala Lumpur World Cup.

India’s captain Uttam Singh was declared man of the match.

Earlier, in a pool match India and Pakistan had played an exciting 1-1 draw.

Playing before a packed stadium, equally divided by fans from both Pakistan and India, the game had the spectators on the edge of their seats.

It was India that started asserting its supremacy early in the game, taking the lead in the 13th minute when Angad Bir Singh hoisted the first goal of the gold medal match. Seven minutes later, Araijit Singh Hundal, one of top scorers of the tournament, consolidated India’s lead with his typical reverse lethal strike.

India led 2-0 at half time.

It was in the second half that Pakistan tried to pace up the game a bit and succeeded in its tactics of breaking solid Indian defence with good penetrating moves. It was from one such good move that Ali Basharat reduced the margin.

The remaining 22 minutes of the game witnessed a tussle for territorial supremacy. However, both the teams stood their ground well and India was successful in staving off some forceful onslaughts, including a few penalty corners in the last quarter, to emerge a deserving victor.

Earlier, South Korea avenged its pool game defeat by recording 2-1 win over Malaysia in the bronze medal match. In another classification game, Japan defeated Bangladesh 5-1 to take fifth position and Oman beat Thailand 2-1 to take the seventh spot.

Indian goalkeeper Shashikumar Mohith was adjudged the best goalkeeper of the tournament. Best promising player – under-19 – award went to Ahtisham  Aslam of Pakistan. Another best player of the tournament award went to Abdul Shahid, also of Pakistan.