KARACHI: Pakistan registered their second consecutive draw at the Hockey World League (HWL), fighting back to hold England to a 2-2 draw yesterday in Johor, Malaysia.
Abdul Haseem Khan scored in the second-half as the Greenshirts claimed another point following a 4-4 draw against the hosts in their opening clash.
Both teams started off cautiously, failing to find a breakthrough in the first 10 minutes. However, Oliver Williars broke the deadlock, scoring from close range after defying goal-keeper Imran Shah.
But Pakistan bounced back soon with captain Mohammad Imran converting a penalty-corner, hitting it low with success.
England made repeated attempts after losing their lead and finally secured the goal when Adam Dixon struck on a penalty-corner minutes before the half-time. Pakistan missed several chances before the break with Mohammad Zubair coming close to scoring but was denied by George Pinner as England walked into the breather with a 2-1 lead.
Like their previous game, the Greenshirts displayed an improved show in the second half holding their counterparts in the backseat.
Their search for an equaliser ended when Haseem scored on another penalty-corner, 17 minutes before the final whistle. Pakistan continued their charge making several dangerous attacks but Pinner held his nerves well.
England also came close to scoring but Imran Butt, who replaced Shah for the second session, made a brilliant save from a flick of Ashley Jackson holding the score at 2-2.
‘Misses’ concern Pakistan coach
While Pakistan coach Hanif Khan was satisfied with the team’s overall show in both matches, he was concerned on number of missed opportunities.
“We are playing very good hockey,” Hanif told The Express Tribune from Johor after the match.
“The team has made comebacks and controlled the opponents while trailing the lead.
“All players have also improved their fitness that can be gauged by their performance in the second half. We are creating chances but the ratio of missing them is very high. We badly need to improve that for the upcoming matches as it can cost us dearly.”
Pakistan now play South Africa in their last Group B game tomorrow.
In other matches, Argentina thrashed Japan 7-1 while Germany pummelled Korea 5-0 in Group A contests.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2013.
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