Dhaka (Bangladesh), 19 October, 2017: Pakistan and Korea played out an entertaining 1-1 draw in their second match of the Super 4s stage in the Hero Asia Cup 2017 here today at the Maulana Bhashani National Stadium in Dhaka. Pakistan were given an early lead by Ajaz Ahmad (15′) but Korea’s Namyong Lee (48′) ensured they equalised. The draw for both the teams means that Korea have 2 points from their 2 matches in Super 4s, while Pakistan have only a point.
The first quarter was a good one for Pakistan as they attacked the Koreans from the start while the latter focused on counter attacking their opponents. Pakistan’s tactics to turn defence quickly into attack worked well for them in the 15th minute as they scored the opening goal of the match through Ajaz Ahmad. The Pakistanis had the chance to extend their lead in the same minute but youngster Muhammad Atiq failed to hit the target.
However, the second quarter was all about both team’s defensive skills as Korea made a total of 10 circle entries inside Pakistan’s circle in order to get the equaliser. Pakistan, on the other hand, focused on defending well in their circle and keeping their shape so as to deny the Koreans. Pakistan had the best chance of the quarter in the 28th minute when goal-scorer Ajaz Ahmad was clear in front of the Korean goal but could only shoot at Goalkeeper Doopyo Hong.
In the third quarter, Korea tried to push the Pakistani defence into tight spaces as they had a total of 20 circle entries at the end of the third quarter which saw them win two penalty corners in the 35th minute, but they could not be efficient in their conversion of the PCs. Pakistan, on the other hand, had the opportunity to ensure the victory when they were awarded a penalty corner in the 44th minute but captain Mohammad Irfan dragged his shot wide of the target as the third quarter ended with Pakistan maintaining their 1-0 lead.
Korea had to produce an improved performance in the fourth quarter if they had to make a comeback into the match. It was in the 48th minute when Korea were awarded a free hit on the edge of the Pakistani box, which turned out to be an advantage for the Koreans as they scored the equaliser through Namyong Lee. Korea had several chances after their first goal as the Pakistani defence looked vulnerable towards the end of the match. Pakistan also had a golden opportunity in the 54th minute but Muhammad Rizwan Sr. failed to beat the goalkeeper from close range. Both the teams kept trying until the full-time whistle, but neither succeeded as the game ended 1-1.
On holding Pakistan to a 1-1 draw after conceding an early goal, Korean National Coach Shin Seok Kyo said, “I am happy to see my players overcome their physical exhaustion and remain on the track to the final. It would have been better if we won the match but we will continue to remain focused for our next match against Malaysia and reach the final.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan Coach Farhat Khan expressed disappointment about his team’s missed chances. “I am extremely surprised to see how my players are wasting the scoring opportunities. I don’t know what is going wrong. We will go back and see the video and sit with the boys to ensure such mistakes don’t happen in our next match against India,” he said.
Goal of the Game:
Presented By: Mr Hasan Sardar (Former Captain of Pakistan Hockey Team)
Winner: Ahmad Ajaz of Pakistan
HERO Man of the Match Award
Presented by: Mr Mohammed Nurul Islam (Former Bangladesh National Player)
Winner: Rizwan Sr. Muhammad
About Hero Asia Cup 2017 Super 4s:
The Super 4s consists of India and Pakistan who topped Pool A along with Malaysia and Korea who topped Pool B respectively. Starting Wednesday, each of the teams in Super 4s with play against each other and the team that finishes top two in the Super 4s Pool Standings will make the Hero Asia Cup final on October 22 while the other two teams will battle for the bronze medal. The Super 4s offers the teams an equal opportunity to vie against hockey super powers in Asia, not only making the tournament exciting but it also ensures the winner of the title has played against all top teams in Asia to emerge victorious.
Next up in Super 4s, Pakistan play India on Saturday, October 21, 2017 at 17.30hrs local time while Malaysia will be up against Korea in a crunch tie on the same day at 15.00hrs local time.