Lahore – With medal hopes at stake, Pakistan hockey team will face arch-rivals India’s test in its crucial clash of the 25th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Hockey Tournament in Ipoh today (Tuesday).
Pakistan has won one of their previous three games of the competition.
They started off with beating Canada 3-1 but lost to New Zealand 5-3 and were humbled by Australia 4-0.
India started their campaign by defeating Japan 2-1 and got a 5-1 thrashing by Australia in their second game of the tournament.
They emerged victorious against Canada 3-1 in their third match of the tournament.
The green shirts had beaten India 1-0 to clinch the gold medal in the Asian Games in February this year.
Pakistan are ranked three places below India in the rankings and are lying sixth in the seven-team table after just three points from three matches.
On the other hand, with six points from three matches, India are third in the table with matches against Pakistan, New Zealand and hosts Malaysia remaining.
Pakistan also lead the overall head-to-head record by a big margin (82-52), and the game will also give Pakistani players a great opportunity to play under pressure and a chance to place their name for a podium finish.
For Pakistan, a defeat against India is likely to end their hopes in the tournament.
The intense hockey rivalry between the two teams has always attracted immense interest.
Despite slumping from their position as top hockey nations, a Pakistan-India encounter never fails to be a showstopper at any tournament.
Pakistan coach Khwaja Junaid said that both the arch-rivals play against each other under pressure.
“There are several problems in the teams which are being exposed.
” The former Olympian wants his players to display their skills and control the emotions when they play India today.
“The match against India will be a turnover game,” said Junaid.
“The team that manages to defend the counter-attacks better will have an edge.
We are now trying to rebuild our squad.
What is important is that we follow our game-strategy, play in a structure and show unity in the field,” he added.