India [ Images ] hockey coach Michael Nobbs was delighted with his side's performance in the 2-1 victory over Pakistan, saying his boys played better to stay in the race for a bronze medal in the Azlan Shah Cup tournament, in Ipoh, Malaysia, on Thursday.
India clinched victory through a 69th minute goal from striker S V Sunil, who dived forward to push the ball into the goal after receiving a defence-splitting pass from Sardar Singh inside the circle.
The victory kept India in the hunt for a bronze medal. India finished their six round-robin league matches with nine points from three victories.
"We deserved the victory and I'm happy at the way the boys played today. We tightened our defence, but we could have made better use of the chances we got upfront," said Nobbs.
"We're in with a chance of getting the bronze here, and that should be a motivation for the boys. The boys have played a tough tournament in hot and humid conditions and we now have two days of rest before the last game," he said.
India will not know their opponents for their last match until Friday as several teams are in with a chance to feature in the top four of the round-robin league standings.
Nobbs expressed displeasure with the umpiring in the tournament, which he termed "sub-standard".
"We should have got another penalty-corner when Sandeep's shot hit a defender, but the decision was changed," he said.
Before Sunil's goal settled the issue, India had opened the scoring in the 30th minute through Sandeep's penalty-corner conversion, while Pakistan equalised through a penalty-corner goal by skipper Sohail Abbas in the 59th minute.
Pakistan team manager Akhtar Rasool was disappointed with the number of chances his strikers missed.
"We lost due to a late goal, but this was our best match of the tournament," said Rasool, a former World Cup-winning captain.
"We kept missing chances despite repeated attacks. But this is a young team that will improve with more experience," he said.