Pakistan national hockey team maintained their flawless start to the 2018 Asian Games with a 4-1 defeat of Malaysia on Sunday — their fourth straight victory of the tournament being played in Indonesia.
Having thrashed Thailand, Oman and Kazakhstan by a collective scoreline of 36-0 in their first three matches, Pakistan entered the game on an almost unprecedented high.
However, the team also knew that in Malaysia they would face a much tougher side than the previous three that had allowed them to score at will.
The opening goal of the game came in the sixth minute when Muhammad Irfan converted a penalty corner to put his side 1-0 up.
However, Malaysia's Faiz Helmi Jali did exactly the same four minutes later as Pakistani defence conceded their first goal of the tournament.
Two goals within the first 10 minutes of play had set the tempo for another high-scoring encounter. However, surprisingly, the next goal did not come until the 38th minute of the match.
With both the teams neck and neck and unwilling to given any edge to the opposition, Pakistan Ajaz Ahmad finally succeeded to get the crucial go-ahead strike.
That goal sapped the energy out of the Malaysian backline as Pakistan struck again four minutes later, with Mubashar Ali finding the net this time.
At the end of the third period, Pakistan were 3-1 up and, not for the first time in the tournament, in the driving position.
Two minutes from the full-time whistle, Ajaz scored the game's final goal to give Pakistan a relatively hard-fought, yet still quite comfortable victory.
With another three points earned, Pakistan now have a total of 12 to their name — good enough to go on top of the Pool B points table.
Pakistan will take on Bangladesh on Tuesday in their final group match.
So far, the Pakistani athletes in Indonesia has managed to win two bronze medals. The hockey team represents the national contingent's best hope for a gold.