Podcast: Sreejesh Recalls India’s 2014 Asiad Gold After Win vs Pak
“I didn’t even touch the ball in the semis, but the final was my match,” said PR Sreejesh recalling the special India vs Pakistan encounter in the Asian Games. The year was 2014, India hadn’t reached the final of the quadrennial event in 8 years and had last won the gold in 1998.
India made it to the semi-finals of the 2014 Asian Games with relative ease, losing just to Pakistan in the group stages. They defeated Sri Lanka 8-0, Oman 7-0 and China 2-0. Finishing second in their pool with 9 points, India set up a semi-final clash against four-time champions South Korea.
India set up a gold medal match against defending champions Pakistan, the only team they’d lost to in the tournament so far.
With the scores level 1-1 at full time, the final of the 2014 Asian Games went into penalty shootouts. Sreejesh produced breathtaking saves in the shoot-off to deny Pakistan's Abdul Haseem Khan and Muhammad Umar Butta. India on the other hand netted four of their 5 shots, with Akashdeep Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Birendra Lakra and Dharamvir Singh scoring.
India won the gold, and also sealed a berth for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
In the fifth episode of The Quint's podcast series 'Greatest Game of My Life’, goalkeeper and now captain of the Indian hockey team PR Sreejesh recalls that nerve-wracking penalty shootout in the 2014 Asian Games final.
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