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Winning goal in final minutes; Pak beats India 4-3 (12/13/2014)
--Shashank Gupta
Serpentine queue outside the stadium lasting for more than a kilo-meter, a sold-out board at the ticket counter and a stadium filled with deafening roar from the crowd - That is how an India v Pakistan Hockey match is played in the subcontinent.

It turned out exactly the same.

Sadly for all the Indian fans, the hosts chose to break the hearts of tens of thousands of their fans and ended up conceding the winning goal to Pakistan with just 90 seconds to spare.

A disciplined performance from 11th ranked Pakistan ensured that they beat profligate India 4-3 at the second semi-finals at the Champions Trophy '14, at the Kalinga Stadium Bhubaneshwar.

Muhammad Arslan Qadir humbled the whole Indian defence line in the 59th minute when he latched on to a square pass from Ali Shan from the left. Beating Gurjinder who stood a meter away from him, he stepped forward and slotted the ball into the Indian cage.

For Pakistan, the goals came from Muhammad Arslan Qadir (17th and 59th minute), Muhammad Waqas (32nd) and Muhammad Irfan (49th). For the Indians the goals came from Gurjinder (12th), Dharamvir (44th) and Nikkin Thimmaiah (52th).

Consider this: 54% ball possession in the opponent half, 5 penalty corner compared to 3 for the opponents, 14 circle penetrations compared to 6. All these number in favour of India.

Add a bit of salt to the wounds of Indian fans: 2 Yellow and 1 Green cards for Pak, compared to a Yellow and Green card for India. The second and third goals from Pakistan came when they were down to ten players. Unfortunately, Indians remained wasteful and let go several chances in a game where Pakistan's defence played out of their skin.

Earlier, the match started at a steady pace. Both teams looked for opportunities to create their chances and were wary of conceding an early goal.

Pakistan came close to scoring a goal in the 8th minute. Shafqat Rasool's square pass from the right was picked up by Muhammad Umar Bhutta but he misdirected his hit.

It was India who drew the first blood in the game. Earning a penalty corner in the 11th minute, Gurjinder took India 1-0 by his low diagonal flick going left of Pakistan's goalkeeper, Imran Butt.

What followed three minutes later would be something India will regret for long. Gurbaj slipped and lost the ball to a Pak player. In the heat of moment, he charged the player, deliberately tripped him and was suspended for ten minutes on a yellow card. Pakistan grabbed the opportunity with both hands and pushed India with attacks one after another. On a square pass from the baseline in the 17th minute, Muhammad Arslan Qadir levelled the game deflecting it high into the nets.

India earned a penalty corner in the 21st minute and then a follow-up one, however, Rupinderpal flopped, coming up with an uninspiring flick.

Missed chances galore for India. In the last couple of minutes in the second quarter, India squandered two beautiful chances to score. Once SV Sunil gave a precise pass to fleet-footed Nikkin in the center-left flank. His hit from an acute angle failed to reach the nets. Moments later, a better composed Nikkin in the Pakistan's circle, anticipating a block ahead, relayed the pass back to SK Uthappa. He in turn gave it inaccurately to Akashdeep, who was perfectly positioned at Pakistan's goalmouth.

Post lemon break, with Pakistan down to ten players, Shafqat Rasool's splendid hit from the right found a lurking Muhammad Waqas near the Indian cage. He didn't err and took Pakistan 2-1.

Two minutes later, India earned two successive penalty corners. Raghu's flick was an excruciating one for all the vocal Indian fans. It went about a couple of meters away from the post.

With Pakistan down to ten players again and on the defensive, a Green Card to Sardar inspired Akashdeep to set-up Dharamvir at the top of Pakistan circle in the 42nd minute. His reverse hit from the left levelled the scoreboard at 2-2.

In the final quarter, following another simple miss by India, this time by Sardara, Pakistan earned a short corner on dangerous play by India in their circle. Muhammad Imran, pretending to take the flick, came up with a deceptive quick pass to Muhammad Irfan on his immediate left. Irfan's low, diagonal flick was quick to beat Sreejesh.

Four minutes later, Nikkin deflected a long through ball from Gurbaj from the left into the nets.

Into the final five minutes and the score levelled at 3-3, India wasted a short corner, their fifth one in the game. India remained lucky as they got yet another chance to score but Akashdeep goofed up on a deflection at the goalmouth.

India now take on Australia tomorrow in the Bronze medal match. Pakistan take on Germany in the clash for the title.

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