Noida, March 26: India outsmarted Pakistan 36-31 to win the third South Asian Handball Championship at an outdoor court at the Genesis Global School here Wednesday.
India, who beat Pakistan also in the league stage, shrugged off a shaky start to get the better of the reigning South Asian Games champions. Bangladesh beat Afghanistan to finish third in the five-nation competition.
Greenidge D’Cunha starred for India scoring 12 goals and got good support from his captain Nayachandra Singh. Tariq Iqbal and Uzain Atif shared seven goals apiece for Pakistan.
Pakistan gave India a tough fight in the first half with the score tied at 18-18. India upped the pace of the game in the second half and the Pakistani team could do little to match that. The home team’s conversion rate also improved and at one point had a nine goal advantage before Pakistan reduced the lead in the 60 minute contest (two halves of 30 minutes each).
The game had the intensity of a typical India-Pakistan clash with players of both teams not shy to use the cuss words.
Pakistan captain Tahir Ali said his team gave its best despite missing important players.
“India had a strong team while six of our key players were not released by the army. We did well to match India early on but the boys could not defend well in the second half. They were short on temperament too,” Ali told IANS, adding that the whole squad had a great time in India. Their stay also included a customary visit to the Taj Mahal.
Ali concluded by saying the quality of referring was rather average.