Pakistan started its campaign at the 10th Hockey Asia Cup with an impressive 7-0 win over the hosts Bangladesh at Dhaka’s Maulana Bhashani Stadium.
The green shirts completely dominated the proceedings throughout and created numerous open play chances along with 9 penalty corners.
But the first match jitters were very much evident as they scored just one goal in the first half, courtesy Abubakr Mahmood’s PC conversion in the second quarter, whose powerful flick went into the net off goal keeper Asim’s palm. There was a lot of missing from Pakistanis.
Bangladesh had their best chance of the match late in the first half. A faulty Pakistani clearance led to an easy top of the circle opportunity but the Bangladeshi captain Rashel shot just wide with the goal at his mercy.
Two back to back goals early in the second half calmed Pakistani bench’s nerves. Arslan Qadir was felled down in the circle and off the resulting penalty stroke, Ammad Shakeel Butt sent the goalkeeper the wrong way with a high push to the top left corner. Soon, an Ali Shan reverse hander from the left of the circle was sent into the cage by an excellent touch by Arslan Qadir with an extended stick held high. Off the fifth PC, a little variation at the top of the circle worked. Skipper Irfan drew the rushers before slipping the ball to Abubakr, who flicked it into the net to make it 4-0.
The last quarter also saw three goals. Ammad Butt after receiving the ball in the circle from a right side attack beautifully sidestepped the netminder before putting it in. Then Abubakr completed his hat trick availing the seventh PC. Though his push was straight on to the goalkeeper but the ball deflected into the goal. The last goal came in the final minute. Arslan Qadir created space at the top of the circle in a crowded defence before slotting home with a spectacular reverse hit for his second of the evening.
Scorers: Abubakr Mahmood:3 (18′,41′, 50′), Ammad Shakeel Butt: 2 (33′, 47′), Arslan Qadir: 2 (33′, 60′).
Hero Man of Match: M.Rizwan Senior (12,500 Takas).
The next match of Pakistan is with Japan on Friday.
Earlier India defeated Japan 5-1 in a clinical display.
India’s scorers: Harmanpreet Singh 2, Sunil, Lalit Upadhay & Ramandeep Singh