Spirited Pakistan play 4-4 draw against Malaysia – Sport

GNIEZNO (Poland): In a spirited comeback, Pakistan played a 4-4 draw against Malaysia on the opening day of the FIH Nations Cup in Gniezno on Friday.

The green-shirts were trailing 4-1 in the third quarter before they launched a magnificent revival to square the match.

Pakistan are placed in pool ‘B’ alongside Canada, France and Malaysia while pool ‘A’ comprises Austria, Korea, New Zealand, Poland and South Africa.

Pakistan had a poor start in the match conceding three early goals in the first quarter. Fitri Saari put Malaysia ahead in the fourth minute through a penalty stroke. Three minutes later, Abu Kamal Azrai made it 2-0.

The Pakistan defenders continued to commit blunders and in the process conceded two penalty corners and a penalty stroke in the first quarter. The pressure applied by Malaysia paid off once again as they made it 3-0 when Faizal Saari scored from a penalty corner. Pakistan earned penalty corners but failed to convert any of them.

The second quarter was a goalless affair with both the teams trying to penetrate each other’s defence but failed to score as the first half ended.

In the third quarter, Abdul Ramzan opened the account for Pakistan through a field goal in the 32nd minute. However, again Malaysia restored a 3-goal lead in the 42nd minute through another penalty stroke. Sufyan Khan gave Pakistan their second goal in the 43rd minute on a penalty corner as the third quarter ended with Malaysia 4-2 ahead.

The fourth quarter started at a brisk pace with Pakistan forwards trying their best to get another opening. Their efforts paid off when Hannan Shahid scored for Pakistan in the 52nd minute.

The match was about to end with Malaysia winning 4-3 but in the dying moments Pakistan’s forwards earned a penalty stroke and Abu Bakar Mahmood made no mistake to convert the opportunity into a goal in the final minute that earned Pakistan a stunning 4-4 draw in their tournament opener.

Pakistan in their next pool match face Canada on Sunday.

The winners of the May 31-June 9 FIH Nations Cup will qualify for the FIH Hockey Pro League 2024-25.

Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2024

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