2018 Commonwealth Games: Erratic India punished by Pakistan in hockey opener - highlights
As expected, the India vs Pakistan hockey opener at the 2018 Commonwealth Games threw up high drama in Gold Coast on Saturday. Pakistan, who were trailing India 0-2 after the first half, scored twice including one in the dying seconds of the match to hold India 2-2.
Dilpreet Singh scored in the first quarter while Harmanpreet Singh converted a penalty corner in the second to give Indian men’s hockey team a 2-0 lead after the first half. Pakistan stepped up the tempo in the second half even as Indians lost their shape in the middle. They made it 1-2 via a strike from Muhammad Irfan Jr. before Ali Mubashar scored the equaliser when Pakistan were awarded a penalty corner with just seven seconds to go in the match. Get highlights of the India vs Pakistan hockey match from the 2018 Commonwealth Games here. (CWG 2018 LIVE UPDATES)
11:58 hrs IST: With that we wind up our live coverage of the India vs Pakistan hockey match from Gold Coast. To follow live action from other disciplines at the Commonwealth Games, click here.
11:54 hrs IST: The late equaliser was again a sad reminder for Indians of the curse that has afflicted them through the last 30 years or so. Indian hockey team, down the years, have always faded in the latter stages of the match. While earlier, the loss of tempo was against world-class sides, this time it came against Pakistan, a lower-ranked side, who are not exactly world beaters anymore. With the result, coach Sjoerd Marijne will be forced to go back to the drawing board before the next match a must-win against Wales on Sunday, while Pakistan take on England.
11:52 hrs IST: What’s interesting to figure out is the role Pakistan head coach Roelant Oltmans had in this result. Oltmans was with Hockey India since 2012 -- first as high performance director and then head coach -- was unceremoniously removed in September last year. This current Indian squad developed during Oltmans’ time in India and perhaps the Dutchman knew how to push the right areas at the right time to unsettle the Indians.
11:51 hrs IST: Indians would have only themselves to blame for the result. While they started off with intent, it was evident by the end of the first half that Manpreet Singh and Co. were losing shape in the middle. One could sense no strategy or system in their play while Pakistan, despite being erratic, were at least making forays into the Indian D. It was a matter of time before they scored.
11:45 hrs IST: Ali Mubashar scored for Pakistan with a low and hard shot. Sreejesh was a bit slow to react and conceded the equaliser. A disappointing result for India as going into the match they were the clear favourites.
11:37 hrs IST: Goal. Heartbreak for India in the dying seconds of the match. Pakistan convert the penalty corner to draw the match 2-2.
11: 35 hrs IST: Pakistan get another penalty corner. It’s literally the last play of the match.
11:33 hrs IST: Penalty corner is taken but the attempt thwarted. Pakistan ask for a video review again. Drama continues.
11:32 hrs IST: Pakistan get a penalty corner with 10 seconds to go. Drama indeed!
11:30 hrs IST: Drama in the final seconds. Pakistan asks for a review after a scuffle for ball in the Indian D.
11:28 hrs IST: Mandeep Singh wastes a golden chance to take things away from Pakistan’s grasp. With two minutes to go India lead 2-1.
11:24 hrs IST: Five minutes to go in the match and India lead 2-1 against Pakistan. But things are getting tight as Pak players are running more and more at the Indian defence while Manpreet Singh and Co. have not been able to make any meaningful foray into the Pakistani D in the second half.
11:21 hrs IST: The ball sails above the bar but Indian custodian P Sreejesh seems to have injured his side. He takes his time getting up. Play begins with India running up the left flank, intercepted by Pakistani defence.Such up and down running of the ball has been the hallmark of this match with both the sides unable to assume full control of the proceedings. So much for strategies and systems.
11:20 hrs IST: Pakistan get a penalty corner.
11:13 hrs IST: The fourth quarter begins with Pakistan playing running hockey, attacking looking for the equaliser. India lead 2-1 at the moment.
11.11 hrs IST: That’s the end of the third quarter. India lead Pakistan 2-1 but Manpreet Singh and Co. will have to get their act together in the final quarter or risk a Pakistan comeback in the match.
11:09 hrs IST: Muhammad Irfan Jr. taps in a diagonal shot from the left. The Indian defence, solid till that point, was in disarray as Pakistan ran at them with some crisp passing. The Indians better get their act together as the third quarter has seen a resurgent Paksitan. With less than two minutes to go in the quarter, India lead 2-1.
11:01 hrs IST: Pakistan get a goal back. It’s 2-1 in third quarter.
10:54 hrs IST: The third quarter of the India vs Pakistan match begins. India lead 2-0 thanks to goals from Dilpreet Singh and Harmanpreet Singh in the opening two quarters.
10:52 hrs IST: While the scoreline reads 2-0 in favour of India at half time, India coach Sjoerd Marijne would want his side to assert more in the midfield and also hold a ball a little longer. The latter half of second half saw Pakistan spend more time in the Indian half. Though the rivals didn’t show much firepower in front of goal, giving them chances is always dangerous and India’s Dutch coach would have given his side a talk at half time to refine their act further.
10:44 hrs IST: Pakistan are trying to go forward and get a goal back but the Indian defence seems solid with no weak links whatsoever. Manpreet Singh and Co. go into half-time with a 2-0 lead.
10:38 hrs IST: However, Pakistan earns another penalty corner as threat continues to loom over the Indian goal. This time, goalkeeper P Sreejesh comes to the rescue.
10:37 hrs IST: The Pakistan flick from the PC is intercepted beautifully by Kothajit Singh, who clears it to the side.
10:35 hrs IST: Pakistan get a penalty corner after a player goes down in the Indian D. The weak shot is dealt with by the Indian defence. but the ball seemed to have hit an Indian defender’s foot. Pakistan asks for a review and gets another PC.
10:33 hrs IST: The Pakistan custodian Imran Butt has been a busy man under the bar. India attack in waves, the latest being a strike by Mandeep Singh, which was thwarted by Butt.
10:28 hrs IST: India strikes from the PC. Harmanpreet Singh scores with the brilliant strike from the PC. Pakistan opted to review but it was turned down. India lead 2-0 in second quarter.
10:26 hrs IST: The chance is squandered again by India, but Pakistan fail to clear the ball and India get another PC after a goalmouth melee.
10:24 hrs IST: Second quarter begins with India applying a full press against Pakistan, trying to keep the ball within the Pak half of the field. The intention is clear, Manpreet Singh and Co need more goals. And their efforts get rewarded by a penalty corner.
10:20 hrs IST: India would be very happy with the 1-0 lead going into the second quarter, especially since Manpreet Singh and Co. showed signs of taking control of the match in the latter stages of the first quarter. India scored via Dilpreet Singh, who found the target from a cross bt SV Sunil. The move began as a counter attack and Sunil passed across the face of the goal to Dilpreet in the far post, who hammered the ball home.
10:19 hrs IST: The answer is no. Rupinder Pal Singh misses the mark and the penalty corner chance is wasted. The first quarter ends with India leading Pakistan 1-0.
10:18 hrs IST: India get a penalty corner, Will they be able to take a 2-0 lead going in to break after the first quarter.
10:15 hrs IST: And it’s a goal, Dilpreet Singh strikes for India who take 1-0 lead against Pakistan with just two minutes to go in the first quarter.
10:12 hrs IST: The tempo for the game is set -- high-paced action. But both teams don’t seem to be sure on how to convert the pacy moves into a meaningful attack in front of goal at the moment. The scores remain tied 0-0 with four minutes left to play in the first quarter.
10:09 hrs IST: Pakistan making an inroad into the Indian D from the left flank but easily dealt with by the defence. From the counter, the Indians build their own foray into the Pakistan D, but a cross from the left flank is wasted with no Indian in the middle to tap in.
10:06 hrs IST: Opening exchanges of the match promises intense action. Both teams are intent on attack -- Pakistan going down the flank twice, while Indians countering down the middle. Nothing meaningful coming out of the initial exchanges. A sign of nerves probably. Both teams should settle down and then try and control the tempo of the match, applying their strategies and systems from the middle.
10:01 hrs IST: Skipper Manpreet Singh is seen rallying his players and the ball is rolled. The start of Indian men’s hockey team’s CWG campaign in Gold Coast.
10:00 hrs IST: The national anthems are being played at the moment. Indians would be going all out for a big win in the opening match to have a strong start to the tournament. They would also want to banish the memories of a poor outing at the Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia where they finished out of the podium.
09:57 hrs IST: With former India coach, Dutchman Roelant Oltmans, at the helm with Pakistan, there is an additional variable for the Indian hockey team to deal with. The match is set to start with the players in the field. Though Pakistan are not the powerhouses they were once, sparks do fly when they play India. And this match is sure to be a hard-fought one.
09:53 hrs IST: Welcome all to the live coverage of Indian men’s hockey team’s 2018 Commonwealth Games opening match. And a big match that too, against arch rivals Pakistan.
The rivalry has lost sheen in recent times with the standard of hockey in Pakistan going down as they have lurched from one setback to other.
They finished last in the 2010 World Cup in New Delhi, had failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and are currently ranked 13th in the FIH rankings.
India, on the other hand, are on a resurgence and are ranked sixth in the World and one of the favourites for gold in the Commonwealth Games.