Melbourne : India went down 2-3 to arch rivals Pakistan in the bronze medal play-off at the Champions Trophy hockey championship here Sunday.
Pakistan earned their first medal at a Champions Trophy since 2004 after beating the Indians in a hard fought game. Australia won their fifth straight title beating the Netherlands 2-1.
The loss leaves India still looking for their first medal since 1982. But a fourth place finish in the tournament, in which they featured after six years, could be seen a good result.
The continental rivals were meeting for their first Champions Trophy medal in years.
The teams entered the game as equal adversaries with a 6-6 all-time record at the Champions Trophy and were so evenly matched that the game was too close to call until the final horn.
“This win means a lot to us,” said Pakistani player Shakeel Abassi on the FIH website. “We haven’t had a medal at the Champions Trophy since 2004, so it is great to be back in the top three.”
The teams exchanged goals in the first half.
India took the lead when V.R. Raghunath scored off a penalty corner just seven minutes into action.
Pakistan got the equalizer with 14 minutes left in the half. Muhammad Rizwan Sr. found himself alone at the top of D and fired in a bullet of a shot to tie the game at 1-1.
Pakistan took their first lead of the game in the second half when Shafqat Rasool settled a bouncing pass and hit it in from point blank range to give the Green Shirts a slim one-goal lead.
India’s strong defence in the second half came up big and kept Pakistan from extending the lead further, keeping the game a nail-biting affair.
Muhammad Ateeq sealed the Pakistani win in the three minutes left in the game with a penalty corner.
It proved to be the game winner as India put in a penalty corner marker after time expired to bring the final score to 2-3.