KARACHI: With hits and misses from both sides, Pakistan won their opening match 2-1 against Poland at the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals in Antwerp, Belgium on Saturday.
Muhammad Irfan scored the opening goal for the Greenshirts in the fourth minute of the game. A penalty corner was fired a low and hard into the bottom corner to give Pakistan the lead.
In the second quarter, Muhammad Rizwan Junior received a penalty corner but he failed to convert it allowing Poland to consolidate their defense. Pakistan though went into the half ahead 1-0.
Head coach Shahnaz Sheikh gave a pep talk to the squad ahead of the final quarter which saw the Greenshirts throw everything into the game to extend their lead. But a resolute Poland held on, before Pawel Bratkowski successfully converted a penalty corner in the 51st minute to level the scores 1-1.
With nine minutes remaining Pakistan's Umer Bhutta was awarded a penalty corner which Muhammad Waqas took. He took the hit with Muhammad Imran and Irfan at the head of 'D' area. Imran passed the ball back to Waqas who put the ball into the back of the net to restore Pakistan's lead.
Poland mounted a charge on Pakistan's goal in the last five minutes of the match. Though the Poles lost Bartosz Zywiczka due to injury, they managed to secure a penalty corner.
But the Greenshirts held on to secure the win.
Pakistan will now take on world number one Kookaburras on June 24 at the same venue before confronting arch rivals India on June 26. A win in either match will secure progression to the next round.
Meanwhile, in the other match India beat France 3-2.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ