Hong Kong (22 Nov, 2016): Goh Kai Yang scored a last minute goal as Singapore clawed back to hold Sri Lanka to a 3-3 draw in a Group B match of the 5th Men’s AHF Cup at the King’s Park Hockey Stadium here on Tuesday.
It was the Singaporeans who went ahead in the 23rd minute, courtesy of an Ishwarpal Singh penalty corner strike only for the Sri Lankans to equalise via a Tharanga Gunawardana field goal three minutes later.
Prolific forward Sadaruwan Priyalanka made it 2-1 by the 41st minute but the celebration short lived as Singapore threw everything they had into the game, went on the offensive and found the equaliser through Md Fazri Jailani in the 46th as the score stood at 2-2.
In a pulsating match that swung from one end to the other at fast pace, Sri Lanka took its chances well to go 3-2 ahead by the 51st minute through Lahiru Panthie’s open goal. However, in a last ditch effort, Singapore got the much needed field goal to force this draw as Goh turned hero for the day.
Uzbekistan and Thailand also played out a 1-1 draw which has inevitably slowed down their progress into the semi-finals.
Golib Kalandarov surprised the Thais by giving his side a 41st minute lead from open play and the Uzbeks were well on their way to winning their first match until lack of concentration seeped into their own game and allowed the Thais to take advantage.
Midfielder Seksit Samoechai fired home from a penalty corner with just five minutes remaining to the end for the equaliser to share one equal point with Uzbekistan after two matches.
Both Thailand and Uzbekistan lost their opening 5th Men’s AHF matches two days ago. The Thais went down 1-2 against the Singaporeans and the Sri Lankans pulled off an emphatic 7-2 victory over the Uzbeks.
The top two teams qualify for the Nov 26 semi-finals.
Bangladesh will be seeking a third consecutive title at the King’s Park Hockey Stadium. They won the coveted AHF Cup in 2008 (Singapore) and 2012 (Thailand) since the tournament was introduced in 1997.
And a third straight title would give Bangladesh direct entry into next year’s Asia Cup and a chance of playing against the top tier teams in the region which includes India, Pakistan, Korea, Japan, Malaysia and China.
They had started their campaign here with a 4-2 win over Hong Kong and secured a second consecutive victory in the eight-nation tournament by defeating Chinese Taipei by 4-2 goals.
In the last Pool A matches on Wednesday, Bangladesh plays Macau and Hong Kong entertains Chinese Taipei.