LAHORE: Ruslan Karimov starred with two goals and two assists as favourites Uzbekistan thrashed Kazakhstan 6-2 to win the FIH Haier Hockey Open series at the National Hockey Stadium on Saturday.
Needing just a draw in the last match of the four-nation, single league tournament also featuring Nepal and Afghanistan thanks to their better goal difference, the Uzbeks went even better despite falling behind early on against the Kazakhs.
Nurbol Kozhym converted a second penalty corner in quick succession to give Kazakhstan the lead in the 18th minute but Uzbekistan swiftly levelled matters via the same route through Khakimov.
Karimov finished a good move to give Uzbekistan the lead three minutes before half-time and made it 3-1 in the 36th, dribbling past three defenders before slotting in.
He then turned supplier two minutes later, providing Khayboev with a beautiful pass to increase Uzbekistan’s lead.
Kazakhstan responded immediately, pulling a goal back when Tilek Uzbek dived to turn in Daulet Urmanov’s pass.
Karimov then set up Oybek Nazarov to make it 5-1, with Nazarov completing the scoring after a penalty corner.