Former champions India defeated Pakistan 6-5 in sudden death shootout after a 3-3 draw in regulation time to finish third place in the 11th Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium on Saturday.
The last time the Indians, who won the Cup in 2013, 2014 and 2022, completed their adventure in the tournament in third place was in 2017 when they defeated the Malaysians 4-0.
Pakistan and India’s rivalry on the hockey field continued on Saturday night in this third-fourth playoff match.
The two neighbors, who also played to a 3-3 draw in the Group B preliminary round stage last week, got off the blocks on a fast pace. India, however, fired the early salvo to take the lead in the 11th minute through a field a goal by Arun Sahani.
For the remaining minutes of the first half both teams were embroiled in counter attacks and penalty corner attempts. The Pakistanis had four opportunities and Indians two with no viable result.
Moving into the third quarter, Pakistan, who last played in the SOJC in 2016 and lost 1-3 to Australia, upped the ante earning a penalty corner in the 33rd minute. This time Sufyan Khan successfully placed the ball in the goalmouth to restore parity.
Hardly had the euphoria in the stands had settled, the Indians extended the lead 2-1 via Poovanna Boby Chandura 42nd penalty corner conversion. The match turned into a yo-yo affair with the Pakistanis making a quick comeback trail through Abdul Qayyum’s field goal strike o level 2-2.
The Junior Asia Cup winner India continued pounding into the opposition’s circle and captain Uttam Singh showed the way with a powerful shot inside the circle. The ball deflected into goal off a Pakistan’s player’s stick. India 3 Pakistan 2.
The high drama continued as Pakistan’s search for the equalizer paid dividends three minutes to end of regulation time. Hannan Shahid scored from Pakistan’s seventh penalty corner in the fourth quarter to push the match into a penalty shootout.