LAHORE - Pakistan on Wednesday sneaked past South Korea to emerge on top of the ladder in the 1st Men’s Asian Hockey Champions Trophy which is in progress in Ordos, China. The Pakistan green team remained on toes throughout the 70 minutes struggling to manage a 3-2 win against fighting Koreans. With this win Pakistan has reached the top of the table with nine points and would be looking for at least a draw against India in their last league match on Friday. Today (Thursday) is the rest day. Team coach Khawaja Junaid believes that their aggressive approach would be the best option against the arch rivals India.
Understanding the situation, his opinion of win came at a point when Japan is reeling at number three with seven points and their win against Malaysia in the coming match might pose problems for the Men in Green. However, India are in a must-win situation against Pakistan and would try their utmost to damage the Pakistan team’s progress to the podium.
In the match against Korea, it was Mohammad Waqas who opened the scoring for Pakistan and the lead was doubled by Mohammad Irfan by the close of the first half. In the second session though Pakistan defence faced difficulties in blocking the Koreans forwards, it was Shafqat Rasool who brought the winner after Korea leveled the score two-all in pace-packed performance. Later in the day, India rallied to force a 2-2 draw against Malaysia.
For India, Ravi Pal (9th min) and Danish Mujtaba (52nd) were the goal scorers while Tajuddin Jalil and Mohommad Amin Rahim struck for Malaysia in the 24th and 32nd minutes.
A win against Malaysia would have ensured India a place in the final. They now, with eight points from two victories and two draws, will have to wait till their last round robin league match against Pakistan on Friday. India began aggressively and repeatedly breached the Malaysian defence. They took the lead nine minutes into the game. Malaysia were quick to step up their ante and equalised and then moved 2-1 ahead. Later, Malaysian defenders put up a strong show but India found the equaliser in the later stages. Malaysia are now out of contention for the final as they have four points from as many matches.