India and Pakistan players in action during their Asian Champions Trophy clash on Friday in Dhaka. DHAKA: Harmanpreet Singh and Akashdeep Singh were among the goal-scorers as India recorded a big 3-1 win over arch-rivals Pakistan in the Asian Champion’s Trophy clash on Friday in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Pakistan looked threatening in the closing minutes but India walked away with full points to consolidate their position at the top of the table. Harmanpreet opened the scoring, allowing India to head into the half-time with a 1-0 lead over Pakistan. Akashdeep doubled the lead, scoring minutes into the third quarter before Pakistan managed to pull things back with a goal through Junaid Manzoor. Harmanpreet slotted one again towards the end to make it 3-1 in the final quarter of the all-important match. It was a match that would have led some of the old-timers from both sides of the borders, masters of their art, to scoff in disbelief. Historically, India-Pakistan matches have been feistily contested but they seldom lacked individual brilliance and quality. Friday’s game between the two old rivals, in the round-robin stage of the Asian Champions Trophy, was the very antithesis of those games. India won 3-1, extending their five-year unbeaten run against Pakistan and extending their lead at the top of the table of the competition. But it was a shoddy, erratic game in which the world’s 18th-ranked team managed to frustrate the world No.3 for long spells, drawing errors out of them and making a match out of what, on paper, should have been a no contest. The gulf in class between India and Pakistan was evident all through the 60 minutes. India made most of the dangerous moves and dominated possession. Their passes, at least early on, were telegraphed, landing right at the teammate’s stick. Pakistan, often looked clueless. Their minds would tell them to run but their legs wouldn’t obey. They tried to find a teammate with their passes but the ball would instead go out of play. It wasn’t a surprise when Harmanpreet, on whom India are gradually becoming very reliant both in terms of scoring goals as well as defending, put India ahead in the ninth minute with his trademark, powerful drag-flick. The match followed the script until that moment. But Pakistan repeatedly send out reminders that even though they might not possess the skill and the fitness required to succeed at this level, they still have the grit that has always been associated with them. So, knowing full well that they couldn’t match India purely on only quality and fitness, Pakistan did the next best thing they could: frustrate them. Siegfried Aikman, who is credited for making Japan a strong team defensively, hasn’t had a lot of time to work with the Pakistani players. But in a week or so he’s spent with them, the Dutchman – with Indian-Surinamese heritage – seems to have instilled a strong defensive structure, which enabled Pakistan to stay within the touching distance of India all through the match. India isn’t a team known for their patience and calmness, although that has improved a bit under Graham Reid.