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Asian Games Hockey : Double Delight as India wins gold and qualifies for Rio 2016

Oct 4 () : The Indian men’s hockey team had a double delight as they won the Gold medal, defeating arch rivals Pakistan 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out and in the process secured a berth for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

It was a close match as both teams fought tooth and nail to gain control of the match, which saw a sell out crowd cheering both sides. Indians were the more aggressive side as they played a fast game but at the end of the regulatory time, both sides were locked at 1-1.

The Indians had last won the gold in 1998 by defeating the current hosts- South Korea , but the golden medal had been elusive for the last 16 years and it was a happy ending as the team has been able to win only 2 Golds prior to the current one. It was also a sweet revenge for the Indian team as they had lost against Pakistan.

Pakistan scored first as Mohammad Rizwan broke through the defence of the Indian side with the aid of Rasool. It looked as if India would end up beaten as in the group stage when Pakistan defeated them 2-1.

The Indian side struck back, thanks to Kothajit Singh as he deflected a pass from Gurbaj Singh. It helped India equalize and for the remaining period of the game, both sides matched each other skills. The Indian side lost a great opportunity to equalize earlier as Sunil missed a rebound.

As the teams were tied 1-1 at full-time, the game went into a shootout. More than the goals scored, it was the saves of the Indian vice captain – Sreejish who was manning the goal post, who made some awesome saves to deny Abdul Khan and Umar Butta their glory.

The Indian side won as 4 off the 5 shooters, Aksahdeep, Rupinder,Birendra and Dharmavir found the goal. The win was the first for India against Pakistan in the Asian Games final after the 1966 finals in Bangkok.