Pakistan stormed into the final of the 8th Men’s Junior Asia Cup in dramatic fashion, defeating Korea 8-7 in penalty shootout at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium tonight.
The Pakistanis go into Sunday’s final with arch rivals India. It will be the sixth time both teams will go on stage in the final since the inception of the Junior Asia Cup in 1988.
It was also a heart wrenching moment for the 50 over Pakistani fans in the stadium when Ahmad Shakeel Butt scored the equaliser from a penalty corner with just one minute and 55 seconds remaining into the final whistle to force the match into penalty shootout.
For the Koreans, it was a case of so near yet so far. They led 2-1 with the clock ticking away from continuing their giant-killing feat until Ahmad Shakeel drove deep into the Korean hearts with this equaliser.
Kim Sung Yeop kept Korea on top with two goals (18th, 41st) but Ahmad Shakeel threw a life line for Pakistan with a 46th minute penalty corner goal and hit the nail deep with his second two minutes into the end.
Goalkeeper Muhammad Talal Khalid was the toast of Pakistan and a bane to the Koreans in the penalty shootout and was aptly awarded Man of the Match.
INDIA THROUGH TO SIXTH JUNIOR ASIA CUP FINAL
India derailed Japan’s ambitious plans with a 6-1 victory in the semi-finals of the 8th Men’s Junior Asia Cup at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium here today.
It will be India’s sixth time qualifying for the final since the Junior Asia Cup was inaugurated 27 years ago in the Pakistan port city of Karachi.
The Japanese, whose best finish in the tournament was a bronze medal in Singapore in 1996, were left trailing 4-0 at the interval with goals from Mandeep Singh (12th, FG), Manpreet Singh Jr (13th, FG), Harmanpreet Singh (23rd, PC) and Vikramjit Singh (27th, FG).
Shota Yamada pulled one goal back for Japan in the 44th minute via a penalty corner, his fifth in the tournament, but the Indians continued to burrow through the deflated Japanese defence with Harmanpreet scoring his second and India’s fifth goal four minutes later off a penalty corner.
Man of the Match Varun Kumar filled the excitement of the night with the sixth goal from a field goal six minute before the end.
India’s opponent in the final will be the winner of the second semi-finals match between Pakistan and Korea.