KARACHI: Pakistan will have to cut down on their mistakes in the last two round robin matches if they are to qualify for the semi-finals of the ongoing Asian Champions Trophy in Malaysia, says the team’s head coach Khawaja Junaid.
A last gasp 1-0 win over South Korea was sandwiched by 4-2 and 3-2 defeats against Malaysia and India respectively, leaving Pakistan in third place in the six-team group.
With the top four set to progress, Pakistan are still on track to qualify for the semi-finals but need to cut down on their errors.
The Greenshirts play Japan today and China tomorrow and have a near flawless record against the both.
In their 12 meetings with Japan, Pakistan have won 11 and scored a staggering 47 goals, while their defence has been breached only 11 times.
Against China their record is even more impressive, having won all four, scoring 16 and conceding just four goals.
“Although our next two opponents are low-profile, we will still try and overcome the errors we made at the back. India were able to hit us with two quick goals after we took the lead, and such mistakes cost us that match. China and Japan may try to force us into mistakes again, so we have to try to not repeat them,” coach Junaid told The Express Tribune.
“We need to have more penalty corners and convert them as well, and not give any chances to Japan,” he added while adding that his charges inflicted a 4-1 defeat over today’s opponents in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup earlier this year.
Malaysia currently sit atop the league standings with three wins in as many games, but that could change as their next two opponents are India and South Korea.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 25th, 2016.
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