India pumped in three first-half goals to stun fancied Pakistan 3-1 and set up a summit clash with their arch-rivals in the final of the Genting Four-Nation Under-21 hockey tournament at the Taman Daya Stadium on Friday.
The Indians scored through Pramod Kumar,Diwakar Ram and Danish Mujtaba to lead 3-0 at the breather. Pakistan reduced the margin in the 51st minute with a penalty corner strike by Muhammad Attique. This was Pakistans first defeat of the tournament. The rivals will feature in Sundays summit clash at the same venue.
India pressurised the Pakistan defence from the opening minute. Skipper Diwakar Rams crisp hit on the right flank was relayed by Mandip Antil for striker Pramod Kumar to connect past rival goalkeeper Imran Butt and give India the lead.
India were awarded a penalty corner in the 14th minute after defender Aamir Shahzad had blocked Pramod,and Diwakar flicked high on the top left to make it 2-0. India followed this up with electrifying pace,rattling their opponents as wingers Mandip Antil and Victo Singh made dangerous down the line forays.
Soon after,Mujtaba shot home with a forceful backhand from the edge of the circle to make it 3-0. Pakistan had a chance to pull one back just before the breather,but Syed Adeel Hussain was unlucky to hit the post.
After half-time,India slowed the pace,making rapid substitutions and displaying superior ball control and possession. They won two penalty corners,but the attempts from Diwakar were foiled by Butt.