Kuantan (Malaysia): As a special gift of Diwali to the nation Indian men Hockey team defeated arch rivals Pakistan buy 3-2 to reclaim the Asian Champions Trophy in the final at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium today.
In the title clash of the fourth edition of tournament Indian players Rupinder Pal Singh (18th minute), Yousuf Affan (23rd) and Nikkin Thimmaiah (51st) goals helped the team to conquer the challenge from Pakistan, who rallied from two goals behind through strikes by Muhammad Aleem Bilal (26th) and Ali Shaan (38th).
This was the first time the teams were meeting in the final of a continental tournament since India dethroned Pakistan as the Asian Games champions in Incheon, South Korea in 2014.
Earlier, India had won the inaugural edition of the Asian Champions Trophy by defeating Pakistan in the final in 2011.
Pakistan reversed the result in the title contest the next year and went on to retain it in 2013 by defeating Japan in the final.
The Indian team who were ranked World No. 6 are the favourites going into the tournament, but were without several seasoned players who had been rested to recuperate from injuries.
India went into the title contest at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium without ace custodian PR Sreejesh, who was rested due to pulled hamstring and Akash Chikte took the position under the bar.
In the third-place match, hosts Malaysia got their fourth bronze medal as they edged out south Korea via penalty shootout.