Indian hockey team downed Pakistan 2-1 to lift the prestigious trophy of the Junior Asia Hockey Cup 2023 in Salalah, Oman on Thursday.
Angad Bar Singh of India set the tone by opening the scoring with a simple tap-in at the 13th minute mark. Building on the momentum, Hundal added another goal for India just seven minutes later, securing a comfortable two-goal lead by the end of the first half.
Pakistan’s Ali Basharat managed to find the net with a tap-in after a pass from his teammate Shahid Abdul in the 38th minute, rekindling hopes for a comeback. Despite a relentless onslaught of attacks in the second half, Pakistan’s valiant efforts were thwarted by India’s resilient defense.
India’s triumph in the tournament remained unblemished, having not lost a single match throughout, while Pakistan suffered their sole defeat in the final. Abdul Hannan Shahid of Pakistan earned the prestigious Player of the Tournament award, while Abdul Rahman emerged as the tournament’s top scorer.
This victory marks a historic achievement for India, as they now hold the record for the most titles won at the Men’s Junior Asia Cup. Their previous victories came in 2004, 2008, and 2015, with the latter final against Pakistan resulting in a commanding scoreline of 6-2.
It is worth noting that the Pakistan junior hockey team faced additional challenges during the tournament. Reports indicate that the team did not receive their daily allowance of $100, as the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) faced financial constraints. Despite numerous requests for funds to the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB), the PHF had to cover the expenses for the squad’s tickets and accommodation out of their own resources.
The victory of India and the financial hardships faced by the Pakistani team serve as contrasting chapters in the tale of the Junior Asia Hockey Cup 2023, highlighting the resilience and determination of the players on the field amidst external difficulties.