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August 27, 2018

Pakistan whip Malaysia to reach semis


August 27, 2018

KARACHI: Pakistan stormed into semis after defeating Malaysia 4-1 in their Pool B match of the hockey event at Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta on Sunday.

With their fourth consecutive win, Pakistan are now on top of the table with 12 points.

The Green-shirts will now play their last preliminary round match against Bangladesh on Tuesday (tomorrow). Meanwhile, Malaysia also managed to qualify for the semi-finals.Pakistan had also won their previous matches convincingly. They defeated minnows Thailand 10-0, Oman 10-0 and Kazakhstan 16-0.

Mubashar Ali opened the account for Pakistan when he converted a penalty corner in the third quarter. Malaysia fought back with attacking play and managed to level the scores when Faiz Jalali converted a penalty corner.

Pakistani forwards continued attacking and made a successful move from the left side while deceiving three Malaysian defenders to push the ball to Ijaz Ahmed, who connected and restored Pakistan’s lead.

The Green-shirts kept the pressure on Malaysian defenders and were rewarded through Muhammad Irfan, who scored two goals for them. He scored a field goal before converting a penalty corner to seal victory for Pakistan.

The Green-shirts desperately needed a comprehensive win against Malaysia — who are ranked higher than Pakistan in the FIH rankings — to prove themselves a much-improved team.Team manager Hasan Sardar, while talking to ‘The News’, said that the team played according to the management’s strategy.

“We won the match against a balanced side with a much better ranking than us. Performance of our players is improving with each match,” he said.

But Hasan warned against complacency.“We won against a tough side, but now we have to think about the semi-final,” he said.

“We are using Irfan as a forward and he is playing well. Dilbar and Ali Shan are also performing well. Abu Bakar and Mubashar are also scoring goals,” he added. On the possibility of facing arch-rivals India in the final, Hasan said that whoever controls their nerves will win the title.

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