By Nick Butler at the Main Press Centre in Incheon

India celebrate following their last gasp hockey victory over Pakistan ©AFP/Getty ImagesIn two of the most bitterly contested rivalry in sport and politics, India overcame Pakistan in a hockey shootout here tonight at the Asian Games, before South Korea beat North Korea thanks to a goal in injury time of extra time in the men's football.

The circumstances could hardly have been more thrilling and exciting in either, as once again, sport proved its great ability to transcend political barriers and create stories that could hardly be scripted better.

In hockey, Pakistan took the lead early on through Muhammad Rizwan before Kothajit Singh equalised for India, who had lost to their final opponents earlier on in the competition.

In a tense and bitterly contested battle, no further goals were scored meaning the tie was decided by a penalty shootout, where India their nerve to avenge that loss and triumph 4-2 to bring some much needed joy to the nation after a largely frustrating Games.

It was India's first gold medal in the sport since Bangkok 1998 and, to add extra icing on the cake, it also ensured their direct qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

But, this was almost overshadowed by what followed deep into the Incheon evening as, after 121 minutes without a goal, defender Rim Chang-woo found the net to propel the host nation to its first Asian Games football title since Seoul 1986, 28 years ago. 

It was the perfect ending for the home team, who celebrated wildly before being awarded their gold medals by Olympic Council of Asia President, Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah. 

South Korea are just as ecstatic as the Indian hockey team as they score to beat North Korea in the football and secure the gold medal at the Asian Games ©AFP/Getty ImagesSouth Korea are just as ecstatic as the Indian hockey team as they score to beat North Korea in the football and secure the gold medal at the Asian Games ©AFP/Getty Images

With preliminary action unfolding over the last 12 days, most team sports have tended to take the backseat throughout much of the Games as medals were won elsewhere, but the floodgates opened today with a multitude of other finals in addition to the ones in hockey and football.

Both competitions concluded in rugby sevens tonight, with China edging Japan 14-12 in a women's final that was closer than anyone expected, before Japan overcame Hong Kong in the men's event for their third gold medal in a row.

In softball, Japan avenged their semi-final defeat in the baseball competition by getting the better of Taiwan, 6-0, while in handball Qatar continued their remarkable second half of the Games with a bitterly fought 24-21 victory over South Korea in the men's final.

Qatar celebrate after defeating South Korea in the handball final ©AFP/Getty ImagesQatar celebrate after defeating South Korea in the handball final ©AFP/Getty Images

But there were two fantastic victories for the host nation elsewhere, as first South Korea edged three-time defending champions China, 70-64, in the women's basketball final, before a more comfortable but equally surprising 3-0 win over the same opponents, the four-time defending champions, in the women's volleyball.

There was plenty of success for China and South Korea elsewhere as well, as, in the absence of Qatar, China swept both 4x100 metres relay titles on the track, and also took two field event gold medals and yet another double in diving.

South Korea, meanwhile, earned two victories apiece in bowling and soft tennis.

There were wins for Japan's men and India's women in the two 4x400m relay finals, while Bahrain also garnered double gold in athletics.

Maryam Jamal, who grew up in the same Ethiopian village as two-time Olympic champion Haile Gebrselassie, added the 5,000m title to her earlier 1500m crown, while Kenyan-born Eunice Kirwa won the first gold medal of the day, in the women's marathon.

In sports which began offering medals today, Japan and China scooped double gold in canoe slalom, and Iran and Japan did likewise in karate, while China's 2009 world champion Chen Qian took women's modern pentathlon glory.

But as far as the home fans were concerned, aside from the football, the biggest event was the women's all-round final in rhythmic gymnastics, featuring Son Yeon-jae, the athlete voted the most eagerly anticipated across any sport ahead of the Games.

Fresh from a bronze medal at last week's World Championships in İzmir, Turkey, she continued that form, and delighted the fans, to win with a total of 71.699 and finish comfortably ahead of China's Deng Senyue.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
September 2014: All three medallists disqualified in men's 800m on day of controversy at Asian Games
September 2014: China power to two table tennis titles on another day of dominance at Incheon 2014
September 2014: Kazakhstan lead medal charge at Incheon 2014 as biggest names in Asian sport excel
September 2014: South Korea edge Taiwan for baseball gold to light up Asian Games
September 2014: Indonesia win badminton spectacle as history is made on the ninth day of Asian Games