India thrash Pak 4-2 to lift Asia Cup

India has won the Asia Cup hockey tournament defeating arch-rivals Pakistan 4-2 at Kuala Lumpur today.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Kuala Lumpur:

India has won the Asia Cup hockey tournament defeating archrivals Pakistan 4-2 at Kuala Lumpur today. Kanwalpreet Singh converted the second penalty corner into a goal and gave India an early lead in the 7th minute. Pak takes the lead But Pakistan struck back the very next minute. Sohail Abbas wasted no time, capitalising on a penalty corner to even the scores. By the 14th minute, Sohail Abbas showed just why he is considered one of the most dangerous drag flick specialists in the world. Pakistan was leading India 2-1. However, Gagan Ajit Singh proved that India was not going to give this one up without a fight. Just three minutes later, he tapped the ball in, equalising the score out of a penalty corner. Last minute thrills The score stayed at 2-2 for most part of the second half. However, towards the end of the match, India pulled up their socks to show archrivals Pakistan what it takes to clinch the Asia Cup. In the 69th minute, Ignace Tirkey gave India the lead by scoring the third goal and then Prabhjot Singh increased India's lead to two goals in the last minute of the match. Promises to keep… Back in New Delhi, one man was watching the match with particular interest – India's injured penalty corner specialist Jugraj Singh – who is in a Delhi hospital. Prior to India's departure for the Asia Cup, Captain Dhanraj Pillay vowed that the team would win the tournament for their injured colleague Jugraj Singh. And the promise was kept at Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, when India beat their greatest rivals. "I am very happy. It feels nice that my team have kept their promise. Now I want to return to the field as soon as possible," Jugraj said. Revenge, and the Cup as well…It was a case of fifth time lucky for India. They had reached the finals of this tournament four times before this, but Sunday's win was India's first Asia Cup victory. This title gives India a much-deserved automatic qualifying spot for the 2006 World Cup. The win also helped India avenge the loss to Pakistan in the league match on Wednesday and in the bronze medal play off in last month's Champions Trophy. India's forward line had come under a lot of criticisim after the league encounter against Pakistan on Wednesday. And it finally took a defender in the form of Ignatius Tirkey to seal victory.