Pakistan proved way too strong for Chinese Taipei, formerly Taiwan, handing them a 13-0 thumping and sealing the top place in Group A of the 2013 Asia Cup.
The Greenshirts, who need to win the title to earn a spot in next year’s World Cup in the Netherlands, are likely to face South Korea in the semi-finals who are currently place number two in Group B.
Shakeel Abbasi started the rot for Chinese Taipei, dribbling past the defenders to finish a brilliant goal in the 13th minute before skipper Muhammad Imran sent his drag-flick clattering into goal ten minutes later.
Muhammad Rizwan also got on the score sheet through a field goal in the 26th minute as the stunned Chinese Taipei, players failed to cope with the pace of the game. Any hopes of a comeback by them were soon dashed by the Pakistani forwards, who added another two goals as soon as the second half got underway, Rizwan for his second and Shafqat Rasool for his first.
Goals from Muhammad Dilber (45) and another by Rasool (46) added to their opponents misery but the rampant Pakistani team were out for more. Imran’s second (52), a super hattrick by rising star Abdul Haseem Khan (54, 56, 69) and one each by Muhammad Tousiq and Muhammad Irfan added the final touches to what may have seemed like a never-ending nightmare to the Chinese Taipei, players.
The result gave Pakistan a perfect record in the group stages but Imran’s men will have to put all of this behind them when the semi-finals start. Japan, Malaysia and Chinese Taipei, have been harmless opponents but rest assured the lightning-fast Koreans will take some beating.
Pakistan’s veteran defender Waseem Ahmed said of his team’s performance, “The team is working really hard and if we can keep on doing the same thing throughout the tournament, I think our chances of becoming champions here and booking a spot in the World Cup is very bright.”
The semi-finals commence from August 30.