KARACHI: After a close 4-3 win in the series opener, Pakistan went down 2-0 to Germany as the two-match series ended in a draw in Cologne.
Pakistan won the first match after an outstanding show from captain Sohail Abbas who converted all the four short-corners to give his team the victory. However, Germany scored a goal in each session of the second match to level the series.
Pakistan team management claimed to have been a victim of ‘biased umpiring’ in the second match.
“We were denied three to four penalty-corners,” member of Pakistan’s coaching panel Shahid Ali Khan told The Express Tribune. “This happened because we were flawless in the first match so the umpires were biased in the second.”
Drawn series raises hopes
The results against Germany came as a respite after suffering six successive defeats including five in the Azlan Shah Cup before a 6-1 thrashing to Belgium.
The coach said the performance against Germany will give a much-needed boost to the team.
“The team played a great match against Germany. They played with full strength and fielded the same team in both matches which had recently crushed top-ranked team Australia 5-2. On the other hand, we played with a depleted side since three of our senior players had to stay home due to visa issues. The injury to Fareed Ahmed in the match against Belgium reduced our bench strength to just 13 players. But the results are good and we are looking at it as a breakthrough for better performances in future.”
Fareed, who received stitches after an injury during the game against Belgium, is expected to recover in a week.
Abbas’ heroics drew first blood
The drawn series has also given respite to Abbas who silenced critics with an outstanding performance. The penalty-corner specialist, who came under fire after missing a series of chances in the Azlan Shah Cup, returned to form with an impressive show.
Pakistan will play against the Netherlands today in their last match of the Europe tour, which marks their last international assignment before the London Olympics.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2012.
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