MUSCAT: India edged out Pakistan 2-0 in the penalty shoot-out after a 4-4 draw at full-time to emerge champions in Men’s Hockey5s Asia Cup Salalah 2023 in Salalah on Saturday.
Earlier, hosts Oman ensured their direct qualification to the Hockey5s World Cup by finishing a creditable third after they beat Malaysia 5-4 in the bronze medal play-off match of the top Asian event.
In a pulsating final at the Sultan Qaboos Youth Centre hockey turfs, it was Pakistan who took the lead with a goal from Abdul Rehman in the fifth minute.
India equalised after two minutes through Jugraj Singh. Maninder Singh, adjudged the player of the tournament, put India in the lead in the 10th minute.
Rana Abdul put Pakistan back in business with a brilliant goal in the 13th minute. Zikriya Hayat struck in the next minute as Pakistan went up 3-2 at the half-time. Rana finished top-scorer of the tournament with 27 goals.
In the second-half, Pakistan pushed ahead and Arshad Liaqat’s challenge goal made it 4-2 in favour of Pakistan in the 19th minute.
Star player Mohammed Raheel sprang into action in the same minute as India reduced the deficit to 4-3. Raheel also netted India’s equaliser in the 26th minute to make it 4-4.
Frantic actions marked the last minutes but a winning goal evaded both the teams.
In the ensuing penalty shoot-out, cool customer Gurjot Singh and Maninder Singh found the target for India to make it 2-0 giving no chance to Pakistan goalkeeper Ishtiaq Abdullah Khan.
Liaqat Arshad, who got a penalty stroke, and Muhammad Murtaza could not strike in their attempts past a valiant Indian goalkeeper Suraj Karkera as the Indian men repeated the triumph of their female counterparts in the Women’s Asia Cup last week.
Earlier, Pakistan comfortably beat Oman 7-3 in the first semifinal. Pakistan led 4-2 at the break. In the second semifinal, India thumped Malaysia 10-4. India led 3-2 at the half-time.
Oman showed their mettle in a thrilling clash against Malaysia in the third-place play-off.
Aiman Madit put the hosts ahead in the sixth minute but Kamarulzaman Kamaruddin equalised for the Malaysians in the next minute.
Oman went ahead again in the 11th minute through Khalid al Shaibi. Malaysia didn’t waste any time in getting the equaliser again when Muhibddin Moharam struck in the same minute to make it 2-2 at the break.
Aiman Madit hit another goal as Oman took 3-2 lead in the 19th minute. Kamarulzaman found the 3-3 goal for Malaysia three minutes later.
Khalid al Shaibi found the target again in the 24th minute as Oman moved up 4-3.
After two minutes, Malaysia made it all square when Akhimullah Anuar was on target.
Oman’s mercurial player Rashad al Fazari reserved his brilliance to the last moment as he netted the winner with only a minute to go.
As Oman is also qualified as host for the World Cup, Malaysia will make it to the global showdown in Muscat with their fourth-place finish.
Bangladesh finished fifth after edging Iran 7-6 in a keenly contested match. It was 3-3 at half-time.
Kazakhstan thrashed Japan 9-1 to take the seventh spot. Indonesia took the ninth spot with two wins and Hong Kong thrashed Afghanistan 12-5 to finish 10th.