Asian Games: We Have Psychological Advantage Over India, Says Pakistan Hockey Goalkeeper
Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Butt is hopeful that supporters of both India and Pakistan would witness a keen contest that will be etched in the memory of one and all when the two nations take on each other in the 2014 Asian Games hockey gold medal match.
Pakistan started the mindgames ahead of their high-profile summit clash against arch-rivals India with goalkeeper Imran Butt claiming that his team will enjoy "psychological advantage" over Sardar Singh's boys when the two teams square off Thursday.
"We have won against India in the last match and that will give us a slight psychological edge over them. Both the teams are technically on even keel but luck will also play an important role. Whoever handles pressure well will come up trumps," Butt told PTI Bhasha from Incheon ahead of the marquee clash. (Also read: Indian women clinch hockey bronze at 2014 Asian Games)
The Pakistani goalie is hopeful that supporters of both nations would witness a keen contest that will be etched in the memory of one and all.
"I expect it to be a memorable match inÂ the history of hockey. We will not leave any stone unturned to clinch gold as it will ensure direct entry to Rio Olympics," Butt said.
India and Pakistan had last played in the Asian Gamnes final way back in 1982 during the Delhi edition. India were blanked 1-7 in the final.
Thursday's game would only be India and Pakistan's seventh summit clash at the Asian Games out of which India have won only twice, the last of the triumphs coming way back in 1966 Bangkok Games.
Butt is also confident that he can keep the two Indian drag-flickers Rupinderpal Singh and VR Raghunath at bay.
The experienced goalkeeper also feels that short corner will be the key to success in this crucial match and he will do his best to keep Indian drag flickers silent.
"Short corners will play a key role in this match. India has good drag flickers like Rupinder Pal Singh and VR Raghunath but I am well prepared to counter them. We too have Mohammad Imran and Mohammad Irfan as penalty corner specialists who are doing well in the tournament," Butt added.
When asked if there is any additional pressure against the arch-rivals, he replied in negative.
"There was pressure in last match as well as India are being considered as strong contenders since the beginning. We won that match defying all odds but India will try to bounce back and we have to work harder," said Butt, star of Pakistan's semi-final win.
He said that Indian captain and experienced midfielder Sardar Singh will be dangerous and Pakistan has to work hard to put pressure on him.
"Sardar is a dangerous player and we have to really work hard to pressurize him," he said.
Pakistan had not played any international hockey for almost an year prior to Asian games and Imran gives credit to his team for their performance so far.
"We could not play international hockey prior to Asian games but our efforts were sincere and we want to win the gold again," he said.