New Delhi: A young and inexperienced Indian men's hockey team fought hard before going down 4-5 against arch-rivals Pakistan to slump to their third defeat in the Asian Champions Trophy at Kakamigahara, Japan on Thursday.
India, who have fielded 13 junior players in the squad to give them exposure ahead of next month's FIH Junior World Cup here, scored through Gurjinder Singh (24th minute), Amit Rohidas (30th minute), Manpreet Singh (40th minute) and Malak Singh (49th minute).
For Pakistan, Abdul Haseem Khan (2nd minute), Mohammad Imran (35th minute), Mohammad Rizwan (36th and 44th minute) and Mohammad Rizwan Junior (53rd minute) were the goal-getters.
The Pakistanis stunned the Indian defence as early as in the second minute with a field goal from Abdul Haseem Khan.
India drew parity in the 24th minute when Gurjinder successfully converted a penalty corner.
Six minutes later, Rohidas converted another penalty corner with a low drag-flick to give India a 2-1 lead.
Pakistan, however, equalised at the stroke of halftime through a penalty corner conversion by Mohammad Imran.
Pakistan made a strong start after the change of ends and surged ahead in the 36th minute through Mohammad Rizwan before India skipper Manpreet Singh made it 3-3 four minutes later with a fierce shot shot from top of the circle after being fed by Malak Singh.
Goals continued to rain as Mohammad Rizwan scored his second field goal of the day in the 44th minute to restore Pakistan's lead.
But India drew level once again when Malak scored from a field effort five minutes later before Mohammad Rizwan Junior scored the winner for Pakistan in the 53rd minute.
India will now play Malaysia in their last league match on Friday.
India had earlier lost 0-2 to China and 1-2 to hosts Japan before registering a 3-0 win over Oman in their previous matches in the tournament.