Last-gasp Waheed helps Pakistan hold India to draw in Asia Cup opener

Published May 24, 2022
JAKARTA: Pakistan’s Ghazanfar Ali (R) vies for the ball with India’s Uttam Singh during their Asia Cup match at the GBK Stadium on Monday.—courtesy AHF
JAKARTA: Pakistan’s Ghazanfar Ali (R) vies for the ball with India’s Uttam Singh during their Asia Cup match at the GBK Stadium on Monday.—courtesy AHF

JAKARTA: Pakistan head coach Siegfried Aikman was a satisfied man after Rana Abdul Waheed’s penalty corner conversion a minute from time helped his side hold arch-rivals India to a 1-1 draw in their Group ‘A’ opener of the Asia Cup at the GBK Stadium here on Monday.

India, who have opted to field a youthful side in their title defence, had opened the scoring in the ninth minute after Selvam Karthi got his first international goal through a drag flick which went in through a defelection but Waheed gave Pakistan a point when he converted from a rebound in the 59th.

“I think India could not read our strategies,” the newly-appointed Aikman said. “I am quite satisfied with how we performed and played disciplined hockey with good structure.”

Pakistan will next play hosts Indonesia, who were trounced 9-0 by Japan earlier in the day, on Tuesday while India will take on Japan.

Pakistan had the first scoring chance in the third minute in the form of a penalty corner, but they failed to stop the ball properly as India survived.

Seconds later, it was India’s turn to secure a penalty corner but Neelam Sanjip Xess’ effort was saved by the Pakistan goalie Akmal Hussain.

The Indians continued to put pressure on the Pakistan defence and secured two more penalty corners in the first quarter, the second of which was converted by Karthi, whose shot deflected off the stick of defender Muhammad Abdullah.

In between Pakistan also got another penalty corner but the effort went wide.

Soon after the start of the second quarter, Akmal made a fine reflex save to deny Pawan Rajbhar from point blank range.

The Indians dominated the ball possession and secured another penalty corner in the 21st minute which went begging.

Two minutes from the half time, Pakistan got a chance to equalise when they were awarded a penalty corner for an unnecessary tackle outside the circle by young Vishnukant Singh, but once again miss-stop ruined the opportunity as India went into the break with a slender 1-0 lead.

Pakistan made a bright start after the change of ends and threatened the Indian defence early on.

Second into their third quarter, Pakistan secured their third penalty corner but Rizwan Ali shot his flick wide.

Minutes later India custodian Suraj Karkera made a brilliant save from close range to deny Waheed and then the resultant rebound was shot over by Afraz.

Thereafter India had a flurry of chances — one to Rajbhar and then to Uttam Singh — but Akmal was there to save his side. The Indians kept up the pressure and secured a few more penalty corners in the third quarter but could convert none.

Credit should also go to Pakistan keeper Hussain, who stood like a rock in front of the goal.

A lapse in concentration cost India dearly as a long ball caught an otherwise alert Indian defence, off guard in the final two minutes, resulting in a penalty corner for Pakistan.

Waheed pushed in from a rebound after Mubashar Ali’s flick was saved at the goal line by Yashdeep Siwach.

Koji Yamasaki scored four goals for Japan in their thumping victory over Indonesia.

Goals by Yoshiki Krishita, Ken Nagayoshi and Ryoma Ooka in the space of three minutes had put Japan 3-0 up by the 10th.

Yamasaki scored his first three goals in the 15th, 21st and 22nd minutes before Ryosei Kato and Takuma Niwa scored within a minute by the 33rd with Yamasaki getting his fourth two minutes later.

In Pool ‘B’, Malaysia blanked Oman 7-0 and South Korea hammered Bangladesh 6-1.

The top two teams from each pool advance to the last-four with the semi-finalists securing a berth at the World Cup next year.

Published in Dawn,May 24th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Skyrocketing prices
Updated 03 Jul, 2022

Skyrocketing prices

Some sellers are seeking to take advantage of the prevailing disorder by creating artificial shortages or jacking up prices.
Flooding alert
03 Jul, 2022

Flooding alert

THE Gilgit-Baltistan government has issued an alert about the possible flooding of areas along river banks and...
Assaulting journalists
03 Jul, 2022

Assaulting journalists

ANOTHER day, another citizen roughed up for speaking his mind. The assault on veteran journalist Ayaz Amir by...
Uncertainty remains in Punjab
Updated 02 Jul, 2022

Uncertainty remains in Punjab

With the latest verdict, the judiciary seems to have unintentionally entered the political arena, which is not desirable.
Turbulence in tech
02 Jul, 2022

Turbulence in tech

THE party seems to have cooled considerably for the Pakistani start-up scene. With some of the world’s biggest...
Environmental cost
02 Jul, 2022

Environmental cost

THE collective impact of climate-disaster-health hazards are already taking a huge toll on Pakistan’s fragile...