CWG: Indian men’s hockey team held by last-gasp Pakistan

Opening match is a nail-biter

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Pakistan scored a last minute goal to hold India 2-2 in their opening match in Pool B of the men’s hockey competition at the 21st Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast on Saturday 7 April.

India had taken a comfortable 2-0 lead with goals from Dilpreet Singh (13th minute) and Harmanpreet Singh (20) in the first half.

A desperate Pakistan struck back late in the match. They managed to reduce the margin with striker Muhammad Irfan Junior’s (39) goal, after the breather.

With India seemingly coasting to a narrow win, Pakistan snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a penalty corner conversion by Ali Mubashar in the last few seconds.

India dominated right from the start and the Pakistanis were forced into some desperate defending at times to thwart the repeated Indian attacks.

India took the lead in the closing stages of the opening quarter off a fast counter attack with Dilpreet coming up with the finishing touches through a crowded Pakistan defence.

Harmanpreet powered in a penalty corner to double India’s advantage in the second period.

Pakistan would have conceded more goals if not for some desperate, last ditch defending and the heroics of their goalkeeper Imran Butt.

Irfan gifted Pakistan a ray of hope late in the third quarter when he reduced the margin after a counter-attack had caught the Indian defenders off-guard.

The final quarter was more evenly poised although the Indians still enjoyed better ball possession.

But Pakistan ensured a point off virtually the last bit of action of the match when Ali flicked a penalty corner into the bottom right corner past Indian goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh.

IANS