Hockey: Pakistan makes dramatic comeback for 4-4 draw against Malaysia

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Pakistan players at the FIH Hockey Men. The game against Malaysia ended 4-4 – Photo: FIH

By Asia Samachar | Malaysia |

A goal in the dying minutes saw Malaysia giving away an earlier commendable lead in its first match against Pakistan in the FIH Hockey Nations Cup in Poland, yesterday (May 31).

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

This is the second major assignment for Olympian and former national hockey captain Sarjit Singh who took over as the head coach of Malaysia’s national senior men’s hockey team in March. This is his for the second stint at the job.

Pakistan had a poor start in Gniezno, with the first quarter being a one-sided affair with Malaysia barely giving any time for a nervy Pakistan to settle down, according to an update at the FIH website.

The constant pressure led to the Green Shirts conceding a penalty stroke that was thumped in by Fitri Saari. Soon after, Abu Kamal Azrai made the most of an opportunity after Pakistan lost possession in midfield. Azrai’s delightful skill before a low and powerful finish doubled the advantage. Malaysia’s third came from a penalty corner from Faizal Saari. However, there was a lengthy video referral before the umpire judged in favour of the Speedy Tigers.

Pakistan turned on the style in the third quarter, and pulled one back as Rana Waheed Ashraf’s mazy run and deflected shot was tapped in by Abdul Rehman. They looked like a rejuvenated side after the first half, but an error in the 42nd minute led to a penalty stroke for Malaysia. Fitri Saari made no mistake and scored his second of the game. It was end-to-end as Sufyan Khan sent a rocket down the middle from a penalty corner to gain momentum back.

With nine minutes to go, Pakistan scored their third after a scramble near the box as Hannan Shahid was the quickest to react. The silver medallists of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup earlier this year drew the game level in cinematic style with less than a minute to go. Desperate defending from Malaysia resulted in a penalty stroke that was converted with ease by Abu Mahmood.

Malaysian goalkeeper Zaimi Mat Deris was named player of the match and stressed on the need to be more concrete at the back. He said: “We need more discipline. We need to improve in the next game. Our players have more potential andwe need more game time to showcase that.”

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

RELATED STORY:

Sarjit Singh takes on tough job as Malaysia’s new hockey coach (Asia Samachar, 13 March 2024)

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