JAKARTA: Former champions Pakistan began their men hockey campaign on a winning note as they thumped Thailand 10-0 in their opening Group B match at the GBK Hockey Stadium.
It turned out to be a routine win for the Pakistanis as they look towards rediscovering their form in the bid to win the gold medal.
Pakistan skipper Mohamed Rizwan said that it was a good workout for the team as they managed to get both field and penalty corner goals. “It was not a tough match, but our focus was on keeping the structure and keeping the mistakes down”. “We treat every match seriously and hope that the teams will give a good fight. But not good enough for the win,” he said in jest.
This the third tournament that the Pakistanis are playing under Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans. The first was the Commonwealth Games in Australia and then the second the Champions Trophy in Holland.
Rizwan said that the team has improved under the Dutch coach and hope to see better results here in Jakarta
“We will be better, and I hope we can go all the way to the final. That’s the target but we need to make the semis first. After that we will have to see how it goes,” he added.
After struggling for much of the first quarter the Pakistanis finally broke the duck with a penalty corner goal scored by Mohamed Toseeq in the 13th minute.
Mohamed Irfan put them further ahead with a penalty corner goal in the 20th minute and Mohamed Atif was on target with a field goal one minute later. Pakistan ended the first half with another penalty corner goal in the 30th minute through Mohamed Irfan for a 4-0 lead.
After the breather, the Pakistanis took just one minute to start scoring again. This time Mubashaar Ali was on target in the 31st minute from the penalty corner attempt.
Atif, playing only in his second tournament for Pakistan, scored his second goal in the 38th minute and followed it up with his hat-trick in the 46th minute. His earlier tournament was the Asia Cup in Dhaka last year.
Mohamed Abu Bakar scored a brace in the 41st and 47th minutes while Toseeq ended the game with his second goal in the 48th minute.
Pakistan’s next match on Wednesday is against Oman which is coached by former Pakistan international Tahir Zaman.