Asian Champions Trophy: Sparks set to fly again

August 9, 2023

HockeyAsian Champions


Their semifinal berth already sealed, three-time champions India would look to guard against complacency when they take on arch-rivals Pakistan in a high-voltage round-robin match of the Asian Champions Trophy here today.

While the hosts are unbeaten, Pakistan have managed only one win along with a couple of draws and a loss and their semifinal hopes depend on the result of this vital clash.

A win or a draw will guarantee Pakistan a spot in the last-four stage, but a defeat would leave their fate hanging on the other results.

Even though both India and Pakistan have won the title three times each, going by current ranking and world stature, India will definitely start as favourites tomorrow. While India are ranked fourth in the world, Pakistan are way below in the 16th position.

But ranking hardly matters when it comes to a India-Pakistan contest and the result could eventually be decided on which team handles pressure the best.

While India have improved their conversion rate, they must strengthen their defence going into the knockouts. “It would definitely be a high-intensity tie. We need to be smart and focus on our game plan and our responsibilities,” captain Harmanpreet said.

“We have been scoring goals. Also, our ball possession was quite good, especially during the closing stages of the game. We still need to work defensively and not give away silly penalty corner. We need to tackle better inside the D,” he added.

Head coach Craig Fulton said that his side will be ready for the Pakistan challenge. On Monday, after the Pakistan beat China 2-1, head coach Muhammad Saqlain had warned that they were aware of India’s weaknesses. In response, Fulton came up with a bold reply, “We’ll see on Wednesday night.” — PTI

Related Post