Drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh struck twice as India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan 4-2 in a thrilling match and avoided the wooden spoon in the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament here today.
Rupinder scored through a penalty corner in the ninth minute and from a penalty stroke in the 62nd minute. India’s other field goals came from Akashdeep Singh in the 35th minute and Malak Singh in the 44th minute of the fifth-sixth place classification match.
For Pakistan,who ended the tournament at the last spot,skipper Muhammad Imran scored in the seventh minute through a penalty corner while Kashif Shah Syed found the target in the 46th minute.
Both sides played a fast-paced attacking hockey entertaining the good number of holiday crowd that turned up to watch the inconsequential match.
With the win,the Indian side,mainly comprising junior players,stamped their authority over Pakistan in the tournament having won the league encounter also 3-1.
Both sides had a swift exchange of attacks as soon as the match started and Pakistan went into the lead through skipper Muhammad Imran from the first penalty corner of the match.
The Indian answer came fast,just two minutes later,with a similar effort from Rupinder,a high scoop into the net from the second of the four penalty corners the team forced in the first half.
India distinctly enjoyed the edge and territorial advantage early into the match,with Dharamvir Singh and Nithin Thimmaiah taking turns to test the Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Butt.
But,India had the misfortune of losing Mandeep Singh,who was stretchered out following a collision with Pakistan midfielder Shehzad Aamir.