Busan: It is being billed as the grand finale. All eyes in the subcontinent will be on defending champions India when they face arch-rivals and seven times Asian gold medallists Pakistan in the second hockey semifinal of the 14th Asian Games in Busan on Thursday. Pakistan beat India 4-3 the last time the two Asian giants met in the Champions Trophy last month. The Indians let go of a 3-1 lead in the match to finish fourth in the tournament. But the Indians had got the better of Pakistan in the league phase thanks to man of the tournament, Dhanraj Pillai. India qualified for the semi finals after beating Honk Kong and Japan, but was held to a draw by hosts South Korea who topped the group. In contrast Pakistan had an easier time in their group. The 7-time gold medallists defeated China, Bangladesh and Malaysia by huge margins. But their real test will be against archrivals India. Pakistan, however, have a better record against India in the Asiad. They have played a total of 10 times, winning 7 of them, 5 of which came in the finals. The last time the two met in the semi final stage, at Beijing in 1990, Pakistan beat India 3-1. So the pressure will be on the Indians as they try and defend their title. India had beaten South Korea 5-3 on penalties in the Bangkok Asian games to win gold after 20 years. And if they are to repeat that success they will have to ensure that their crack forward line is able to take on the Pakistanis.
Topics : Hockey