India defeated Pakistan 2-1 in the thrilling final match of the Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 in Hockey on Thursday, June 1, at the Sultan Qaboos Youth Complex in Salalah, Oman, and lifted the ‘Fourth’ title.
Angad Bir Singh (13th minute) and Araijeet Singh Hundai (20th minute) scored for the champions, while Abdul Basharat (37th minute) scored for Pakistan. Indian goalkeeper Shashikumar Mohith Honnenhalli also saved outstandingly and kept India in the lead throughout the match.
With this win, India overtook Pakistan in winning the maximum number of titles and created a new history by becoming the most successful country in the history of the Men’s Hockey Junior Asia Cup 2023. India had previously won the title in 2004, 2008, and 2015, while Pakistan won the title in 1988, 1992, and 1996.
Recognising the team's effort and their unbeaten record in the prestigious tournament, which saw them qualify for the FIH Men's Hockey Junior World Cup in Malaysia, the Hockey India Executive Board announced a cash award of 2 lakhs for each player and 1 lakh for each support staff member.
Both teams looked dangerous from the start in front of the crowd at the Salalah Sports Complex, but Angad Bir Singh's strike in the 13th minute helped India find a perfect win. However, Basharat Ali's deflection of Abdul Shahid's frantic crossfield attempt in the 38th minute made the score 2-1. Indian goalkeeper HS Mohith made a spectacular save to keep India ahead going into the second half. Pakistan kept pressing, but India's defence was up to the task, and then Araijeet Singh Hundal, India's top scorer in the Men's Junior Asia Cup Hockey 2023, doubled the lead five minutes into the second quarter. Despite earning multiple penalty corners and dominating possession, Pakistan was unable to breach India's defensive wall, which was led by custodian HS Mohith, and India went on to win the trophy.
India’s Hockey President Padma Shri Dilip Tirkey, congratulating the team, said, "The Indian Junior Men's team has made us all extremely proud with their unbeaten performance at the Junior Asia Cup. The team has shown great promise over the past few months, particularly after their historic win at the Sultan of Johor Cup. They have become a dominant force, and I believe this big win will hold them in good stead for the Junior World Cup later this year. Hockey India has decided to honour the players for this feat with a befitting cash award. I congratulate the team and the support staff for their efforts."
India Secretary General Bhola Nath Singh also wished the team a successful campaign. "The team showcased great character and the spirit of the game in every match. The team's continued success at the Junior Asia Cup is a testimony to Hockey India's national programme for the U21. I congratulate the team and the support staff for keeping the Indian team's record intact at the Junior Asia Cup."