KARACHI: Pakistan vice-captain Shakeel Abbasi scored a vital brace to help the Asian Games champions outclass hosts China 4-1 as the Greenshirts continued their winning run at the Asian Champions Trophy.
After struggling against Malaysia in the opening game, Pakistan came up with an improved show against China. The Greenshirts showed better strategy and execution to maintain pressure over the hosts, especially in the second half that saw them score three goals to seal a comfortable win.
Abbasi, who scored the winner in the first game, opened the scoring for Pakistan by finding the target in the first half. However, China levelled the score to make it 1-1 at the half-time whistle.
The second half went completely in Pakistan’s favour with Abbasi again taking his team ahead with another goal. After getting a 2-1 lead, Pakistan upped the tempo and made repeated attacks, succeeding in ripping apart the Chinese defence twice through Umer Bhutta and Shafqat Rasool respectively to secure a 4-1 win.
Pakistan team manager Khwaja Junaid was content with the victory saying it would boost the team’s confidence for the remaining tournament.
“China are tough to beat at home and it’s an impressive win,” Junaid told The Express Tribune from Ordos.
“The positive thing is that the players showed improvement after the first match. The youngsters are doing well and I’m happy with their performance so far.”
Pakistan now take on Japan tomorrow in their third match of the tournament.
Earlier, India, who had demolished China 5-0, drew their second match with Japan 1-1 as both teams shared a point each, while title contenders Korea overcame Malaysia 4-3 to go neck-to-neck with Pakistan with six points.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2011.
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