Ipoh (Malaysia), March 12: India came from a goal down to defeat Pakistan 3-1 for their first win in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey here Tuesday.
The young Indian side showed plenty of maturity and composure to avenge its defeat at the Asian Champions Trophy in Doha in December.
More importantly, the win kept the Indian hopes alive for a podium finish in the tournament.
Pakistan took the lead in the fourth minute as skipper Muhammad Imran decided to relay a penalty corner to the right to a diving Muhammad Waqas, who put it inside the goal.
India hit back in the very next minute when Rupinder Pal Singh sent in a pile driver of a flick sailing into the Pakistan net.
India took the lead in the ninth minute when Akashdeep Singh pounced on the rebound after an attempt by Mandeep Singh came off Pakistan keeper Imran Shah, who was playing in place of the regular Imran Butt.
Pakistan could have levelled in the 11th minute but Muhammad Irfan Jr made a hash of things with the goal gaping in front of him.
Pakistan were awarded penalty corners in the 15th, 25th and 35th minutes, but Imran could not find the target. India led 2-1 at half-time.
Pakistan dominated proceedings in the first 10 minutes of the second half, thanks to the untiring Shafqat Rasool. But they could not find the final touch.
In the 52nd minute, Pakistan were awarded their fifth penalty corner but Imran pulled it wide of the left post.
Mandeep Singh and Malak Singh kept the Pakistani defenders busy with their constant pressure, forcing the Pakistani defenders into making long passes instead of building up from the back gradually.
In the 56th minute, India went 3-1 up when Mandeep Singh picked up a rebound from his deflection to send the ball into the roof of the net.
Pakistan got their sixth penalty corner two minutes later but Sreejesh made a diving save.
Two more penalty corners to Pakistan in the 64th and 65th minutes went waste. As the minutes ticked away, the Indian youngsters started slowing the pace.
Pakistan were awarded their ninth penalty corner 40 seconds from end but failed to reduce the deficit.
In earlier matches, India had lost to Australia and South Korea.