Incheon: The Indian men's hockey team went down fighting 1-2 to arch-rivals and defending champions Pakistan in a keenly contested Pool B match of the 17th Asian Games at the Seonhak Hockey Stadium here Thursday.
With the loss, India's two-match winning streak came to an end. India are currently placed second in the group behind Pakistan.
After a barren first two quarters, Pakistan took the lead in the eighth minute of the third quarter when Muhammad Umar Bhutta scored from a rebound. Nikkin Thimmaiah drew level for India in the 53rd minute by tapping home Kothajit Singh's cross from the left flank. Pakistan restored their lead a minute later through Muhammad Waqas and held on to win their third consecutive group match.
The high-voltage clash saw a neck-and-neck fight till the last minute. Playing as per expectations, both the teams displayed enormous amounts of strength and skills. India challenged their arch-rivals in all quarters but went down fighting.
Both India and Pakistan showcased extreme attack and powerful defence, restricted each other from opening the goal account in the first two quarters of the game. It were Pakistan who managed the first breakthrough in the 38th minute when Bhutta sneaked in a field goal from a goalmouth melee and opened the account for the Greenshirts.
Going into the fourth quarter, India went full throttle on the opponents D and drew the game in the 53rd minute when Thimmaiah sliced in a field goal that left Pakistan stunned.
However, in the next minute, Waqas scored the second goal for Pakistan. India intensely fought back for the rest of the match to try and level the score but were unsuccessful in their efforts, and eventually lost the match by 1-2.
India will be playing their last pool match against China, Saturday.