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Pakistan wins the cliff-hanger (12/28/2012)
--Shashank Gupta
It was expected to be a great encounter, and it turned out to be even better. Words won't suffice to portray what has transpired in the seventy minutes at Al Rayyan turf on Thursday in the Asian Champions Trophy final.

It was of a an exhilarating and exciting hockey stuff at Doha in the dream and wonderful final, befitting a week long celebration of hockey in the gulf area.

Nine beautiful goals were immaculately conceived and struck, each outwitting the other on beauty and its serenity.

undefined Pakistan it was, who has the knack of winning India in the crucial and medal matches, who walked away with the honour, but it was hockey at its best, the one kind the Qatar deserved. There were likings of what was in store early in the proceedings, when in the first three minutes itself there were three moves, each goal bearing one.

It was almost within the realm of imagination that defence lose its teeth in the all out war both would engage, and it was so, and when it blossomed each minute as the match wore by, the defence was cracking, players bringing their best, each goal matched with an equally ferocious reply

When Md. Waqas, who silently topped the goal scorer chart with nine goals, added one more to his tally in the 8th minute, Ranchi Rhino's Birendra Lakra brought the parity, and well within next minutes even before the first Pakistan goal euphoria died down.

The pattern was established. Each goal will meet a matching answer from the other, and within minutes. That's why we saw the same India that took 2-1 lead at half time had to bounce back twice to bring the score to 4-4, but it was too much beyond.

undefined When Md. Ateeq, who came from nowhere struck Pakistan's fifth goal, and thus give his side the lead third time, India ran out of patience. In the 67th minute, when a stroke decision was revered by the neutral and well-meaning Korean umpire, the Indians chose to walk away, and with that losing the will to fight it out in the remaining 180 seconds or more.

Are the Indians at Doha bad losers?

For a moment it seemed so, but having seen India-Pak duels for as long as I can remember, the same story would have occurred the other side was on losing note!

Its matter of chance that India was the losing side at Doha!

Whatever. The opinion might vary on which side of the fence you are, but everyone would agree on one point that the winner on Thursday was HOCKEY, not just a nation. That's only for statistics.

A final was played as it should be, against full crowd, goals coming in every seven minutes.

What more one ask for from our dear sport?

The corrected Official Score sheet

8th min: Md. Waqas PCG (1-0)
9th Min: Briender Lakra Fg (1-1)
20th Min: VR Raghunath PCG (2-1)
42nd Min: Shafqt Rasool FG (2-2)
48th Min: Rashid Md. PCG (3-2)
55th Min: Gurwinder Chandi FG (3-3)
56th Min. Md. Waqas PCG (4-3)
59th Min: Rupinder Pal singh PCG (4-4)
64th Min; Md. Ateeq Fg (5-4).

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