Kuala Lumpur: India paid the price for sloppy hockey, suffering a 2-4 humiliation at the hands of bitter rivals Pakistan in a pool B match of the Asia Cup here on Wednesday.
India sorely missed the injured Jugraj Singh, wasting as many as four penalty corners to finish second behind Pakistan in the pool.
India and Pakistan have now played each other four times in Asia Cup, twice in the final and as many times in the league round, and Pakistan have won every time.
Also troubling the Indians would be the fact that they now meet South Korea in the semi-finals. They lost to the Koreans 4-5 in the semi-finals in the previous edition at this very venue.
In contrast, three time winners Pakistan have a rather easy match in the last four round, a clash with unfancied Japan who were thrashed by South Korea 6-0 on Wednesday.
Pakistan’s account was opened by Kashif Jawad, who scored the first two goals (11th, 22nd). Waseem Ahmed (59th) and Sohail Abbas (69) converted two penalty corners each.
For India Deepak Thakur (24th) and Sandeep Michael (34th) scored.
India lacked the verve required to tame a team like Pakistan, who, in contrast, played purposefully making numerous inroads into the Indian circle.
India also failed to fully utilise their chances with Thakur alone guilty of squandering a couple of opportunities within the first 10 minutes.
The most disappointing aspect of India’s game was their inability to convert even a single penalty corner, which, incidentally, they got more than Pakistan. They failed to stop the push properly on a couple of occasions, let alone take aim at the opposition post.
Jawad exposed the chinks in the Indian defence when he was left unmarked in side the box to sound the board in the 11th minute. His powerful shot from the right, after a pass from Mohammed Saqlain beat Devesh Chauhan, who appeared a trifle off-colour in this match.
Chauhan, who had a memorable Champions Trophy, failed to clear 11 minutes later handing Pakistan their second goal.
If the Indians conceded two goals in the first half due to some ordinary defending, they were also benefitted from some poor clearance near the Pakistani goalmouth, which helped them equalise just before the break.
Trailing 0-2, India upped the tempo and finally managed to do so when Thakur slammed home his second attempt after getting a pass from Gagan Ajit Singh.
Thakur also set up the second goal when his grounded pass from just outside the 25-yard was deflected in beautifully by Michael seconds before half-time.
India were unlucky to be disallowed a goal in the first half, when a Dilip Tirkey shot off a penalty corner deflected in from the pads of Pakistani custodian Alam. However, Scottish umpire David Wallice disallowed the goal on the ground that the ball did not hit the board inside the post. A large turn-out forced the organisers to start the match 15 minutes late to allow people get inside the stadium.
China heaped misery on Bangladesh with an 8-0 thrashing. Song Yi scored seven goals (4th, 13th, 19th, 36th, 42, 56, 69) while Yo Haiao scored the other goal in the 17th minute.
Three defeats in a row will now see Bangladesh play for the 7-8 places.
Malaysia rallied to notch up a 2-1 consolation win over Hong Kong to salvage some pride.
With this win, Malaysia tallied four points after the league stage in pool A. The hosts, who have had disappointing outing in recent international events — they finished last both in the Azlan Shah and the Champions Challenge — and would now play China for the 5-6 places on Friday.