Pakistan Enters Azlan Shah Cup FinalKuala Lumpur, May 14: Pakistan entered the final of the Azlan Shah Cup on Saturday, after beating hosts Malaysia in their final league match.With 3-2 the win over the hosts, Pakistan set up a date
Kuala Lumpur, May 14: Pakistan entered the final of the Azlan Shah Cup on Saturday, after beating hosts Malaysia in their final league match.
With 3-2 the win over the hosts, Pakistan set up a date against Australia for Sunday's final match at the Azlan Shah Stadium.
The hosts made a bright start to the game by stringing together passes in the Pakistani half but failed to convert them into goals, giving Pakistan an opportunity to settle down in the game.
Pakistan's first chance on goal came in the seventh minute, when they earned a penalty corner. Veteran drag-flicker Sohail Abbas converted to put Pakistan ahead in the eighth minute.
The hosts continued to create chances and were rewarded with a penalty corner in the 14th minute, but failed to make it count. Three minutes later, Kevinder missed another chance to bring his team level, this time, from open play.
Sohail Abbas was called into action again as Pakistan won their second penalty corner in the 20th minute but the ball was sent wide by Abbas. A minute later, Waqas Akbar made up for Abbas' miss as he slotted home from open play to consolidate Pakistan's lead.
The Greenshirts seemed to have done enough for the half but relentless attack from the Malaysians reduced the deficit to 2-1 at the stroke of half time.
When action resumed in the second half, Malaysia earned their second penalty corner in the 40th minute but the resultant attempt on goal was poor and when Pakistan earned their second set-piece of the match, Roslan made an impressive save to deny Pakistan.
The penalty-corner winning action continued for the following few minutes as Malaysia earned their third, but Pakistan's defence was well-prepared to counter the attack. The hosts missed a good opportunity to draw level in the 49th minute when Hanafi Hafifihafiz let slip an easy chance on goal.
In the ensuing action, Pakistan forward Shakeel Abbasi gave his team some breathing space by scoring their third goal in the 50th minute from open play.
The fourth Malaysian penalty corner came in the 56th minute but the hosts did no harm to the Pakistani chances of securing a spot in the final.
As the match entered its final quarter, the on-pitch temperature heated up and Abbasi was shown the green card for continued dissent. Malaysia were handed a chance to come back in the game in the 57th and Razie ensure it didn't go to waste.
Five minutes from time, Pakistan were handed their fifth penalty corner of the match and Malaysia, their fifth, after two minutes. Both teams failed to convert their respective set-pieces.
Dramatic scenes ensued in the last three minutes as Malaysia were awarded a penalty stroke but the decision was reversed by the umpire just before the hosts could take the stroke.
The high-tempo match ended with words being exchanged between the two teams but the goal from Shakeel Abbasi was enough to ensure Pakistan's passage into the final.
This is the second time Pakistan have beaten Malaysia in the space of six months, with the first victory coming in the final of the Asian Games last November.