KARACHI: Skipper Ammad Shakeel Butt starred for Pakistan as they edged out Korea in an 8-7 penalty shootout win, after both sides played out a 2-2 draw in the semi-final of the 8th Men’s Junior Asia Cup at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium in Kuantan, Malaysia on Saturday.
Korea opened the scoring with the first goal in the 18th minute through SungYeob Kim. The Korean went on to score the second goal of the game in the 41st minute before Pakistan reduced the lead as Butt struck the back of the net in the 46th minute. The 19-year-old gave his team a fighting chance after hitting the equaliser in the 70 minute to take the game to the shootouts.
Muhammad Bilal Qadir missed the first penalty, but was followed by four successive goals from Shan Irshad, Muhammad Dilber, Muhammad Atiq and Butt. Korea’s fifth shot was saved by Muhammad Khalid as the Greenshirts went on to win 8-7.
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“The players have made a tremendous effort to reach the final of the tournament in the presence of strong teams,” head coach Tahir Zaman told The Express Tribune. “Without having much practice on the international front, they managed to reach this stage because of their hard work and dedication.
“They will face India in the final now. We finished as runners-up in the last edition and will do our best this time to go past the last hurdle. India are not going to be an easy side to beat.”
Meanwhile winning captain Butt said, “We were under pressure after Korea scored the first goal of the match, but we managed to hold on to our nerves and fight back. I am glad I was able to score.”
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