KUALA LUMPUR: Arbaz Ahmed concerted a penalty stroke five minutes from time as Pakistan came back from 2-0 down to hold the Netherlands to a 3-3 draw in their opening match of the FIH Junior World Cup on Wednesday.
The Dutch took a 2-0 lead by half-time in the Group ‘D’ clash at the Malaysia National Hockey Stadium; Boris Aardenburg and Casper van der Veen scoring field goals in the 21st and 30th minute respectively.
Arshad Liaqat’s field goal two minutes into the second half, however, halved the deficit before Sufyan Khan converted a penalty corner four minutes later to level the match.
The Netherlands retook the lead when Olivier Hortensius scored a field goal in the 47th minute, only for Arbaz to snatch a point for Pakistan from the penalty spot.
“Not expecting this, to be honest we started the game with faults and I think everyone in the world was surprised we drew with them,” Pakistan head coach Roelant Oltmans told reporters at a news conference.
“I know the quality of my boys but I also know my team is not consistent in every tournament. As you guys can see today’s game the squad saw some high points and also committed so many fouls, if we keep consistent after this I think we can do better in next game.”
Pakistan face New Zealand in their second group game on Thursday.
New Zealand lost 4-0 to Belgium in their opener on Wednesday. The Belgians scored through Hugo Labouchere’s penalty stroke (18th), Jack Labouchere’s field goal (18th), Louis Depelsenaire’s field goal (21th) and Thomas Crols’ field goal (34th).
The top two teams in each of the four groups advance to the quarter-finals.
Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2023