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Australia: Pak beat India 3-2
MELBOURNE, (The News): Pakistan won their first Hockey Champions Trophy medal since 2004 on Sunday, beating India 3-2 in the bronze medal play-off, depriving their arch-rivals of their first medal in more than 30 years.
Pakistani champion Shakeel Abbasi said the bronze was as good as winning gold. He was declared best player of the tournament.
"It was a very important match for us because for the past eight years we haven't won a medal at the Champions Trophy," Abbasi said.
"So for us this is a gold medal because after such a long time between
winning medals, but also winning against India, for me and my team and for Pakistan this is a gold medal."
Pakistan beat India by the same score in the bronze medal showdown at Lahore eight years ago.
India began stronger on Sunday, drawing a penalty corner in the opening minutes as the ball came off the foot of a Pakistani defender.
The goal was converted by VR Raghunath and India had all the momentum.
However, Pakistan eventually worked their way back into the game, drawing level with a field goal from Muhammad Rizwan Senior on 21 minutes. Pakistan continued to control the play after half-time, scoring twice more through Shafqat Rasool and Muhammad Ateeq to set up a commanding lead.
India continued to fight until the end, scoring a penalty corner goal
through Rupinder Pal Singh as the final siren sounded.
Indian midfielder Yuvraj Walmiki said despite losing, his team would take a lot away from the tournament. "Coming out from the London Olympics we finished 12th and now at the Champions Trophy, after the Olympics and World Cup, it is one of the top tournaments so finishing fourth is a good achievement," Walmiki said.
"But we are sad that unfortunately we couldn't get bronze."
Pakistan also had wins over Germany (2-1) and Belgium (2-0) in the
tournament, while India defeated England (3-1), New Zealand (4-2) and Belgium (1-0).
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