Greenshirts make amends with last-gasp winner

Haseem the hero as Pakistan down South Korea 1-0

Nabil Tahir October 22, 2016
Pakistan next face India in a mouth-watering clash tomorrow. PHOTO COURTESY: ASIAN HOCKEY FEDERATION

KARACHI: The Pakistan men’s hockey team yesterday made amends for their opening day loss to Malaysia by registering a 1-0 win over South Korea, thanks to a last-gasp goal by Abdul Haseem Khan in their Asian Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy tie being played in Kuantan, Malaysia.

Both teams found it difficult to break each other with the first three quarters finishing goalless. However, in the final 20 seconds of the last quarter, defending champions Pakistan managed to win a penalty corner and successfully converted it as well as Haseem scored his maiden goal for the Greenshirts.

South Korea, meanwhile, were left to rue their profligacy in front of goal as they were awarded seven penalty corners, with four coming successively, but they failed to make any of them count.

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Pakistan’s stand-in captain Fareed Ahmed, who replaced regular skipper Muhammad Irfan Sr after the latter could not travel to Malaysia due to not having his passport with him, praised coach Khawaja Junaid for rectifying the mistakes made by the Greenshirts in the opening match where they gave up a 2-1 lead to lose 4-2.

“The coach helped us understand the mistakes we made in the first game and gave tips to avoid them,” Fareed told The Express Tribune. “In the first match we made a lot of defensive errors but were a much improved side against South Korea. I am really happy with the win and hope we can carry this momentum in the upcoming matches as well.”

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Goalscorer Haseem, meanwhile, said that after losing the opening game the team were desperate to get a good result. “It is an amazing feeling to score the winning goal but more importantly it helped reduce pressure on the team. After our loss to Malaysia, every single player wanted to just go out there and prove that we can do better.”

Pakistan next face arch-rivals India in a mouth-watering clash tomorrow.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2016.

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