KARACHI: Pakistan’s chances of taking on India in the final of the Asian Champions Trophy were brightened with their emphatic 5-2 win against Japan in the last league match in Doha yesterday.
The attackers continued their brilliant finishing as a goal each from Haseem Khan and Waqas Sharif helped Pakistan to improve their goal difference as well. The game did prove to be a rollercoaster ride in the first-half as Pakistan took an early lead which was cancelled out by Japan, before taking the lead as well. But Pakistan fought back to go into the break level at 2-2.
Pakistan then raised the bar in the second period and ensured that Japan were not allowed to do anymore damage as they went on to score three times against their opponents with Shakeel Abbasi being one of the goal-scorers.
Hanif Khan, one of the team coaches, had recently blasted former coach Michel Van Den Huevel for a poor goal scoring ratio of Pakistani strikers, blaming his methods that had left them short of confidence to try for a goal. The players, according to Hanif, looked for penalty corners. However, the worries of the coaching staff were balanced out with the performance of the players in this game as the goal ratio went up.
Malaysia were required to beat India, who had already cemented their place in the finale, with more than a three-goal margin in the match scheduled for late last night to pip Pakistan for the other spot in the final.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2012.
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