Pakistan earned its first medal at a Champions Trophy since 2004 after topping India 3-2 in an even and hard-fought bronze medal game. It is Pakistan’s seventh bronze medal at the annual event and their 15th overall.
The anticipation was high for the match as the continental rivals were meeting for their first Champions Trophy medal in years. The teams entered the game as equal adversaries with a 6-6 all-time record at the Champions Trophy and were once again so evenly matched that the game was too close to call until the final horn blew.
“This win means a lot to us,” said Shakeel Abassi after the win. “We haven’t had a medal at the Champions Trophy since 2004, so it is great to be back in the top three.”
The teams exchanged goals in the first half. India took the quick 1-0 lead when VR Raghunath scored on a penalty corner just seven minutes into action. Pakistan had an answer when they got on the board with 14 minutes left in the half. Muhammad Rizwan Sr. found himself alone at the top of the D and fired in a bullet of a shot to tie the game at one.
Pakistan took its first lead of the game top open the second half scoring when Shafqat Rasool settled a bouncing pass and hit it in from point blank range to give the Green Shirts the slim one-goal lead.
India’s strong defense in the second half came up big and kept Pakistan from extending the lead further, keeping the game a nail-biting affair. Muhammad Ateeq sealed the Pakistan win in the three minutes left in the game with a penalty corner goal. It proved to be the game-winner as India put in a penalty corner marker after time expired to bring the final score to 3-2.