New Zealand 2 Pakistan 1
New Zealand held off a fighting Pakistan side to clinch an exciting 2-1 victory and claim the third spot in the 18th Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament here on Sunday in Ipoh.
The Kiwis scored off Richard Petherick in the 12th minute and then increased the lead to 2-0 when Joel Baker smashed in a shot from the top of the circle.
Pakistan’s goal came through Shakeel Abbasi off a penalty corner variation.
New Zealand started off with a flourish earning two penalty corners in first eight minutes. Pakistan’s defence came under heavy pressure but they still managed to ward off the Kiwi forwards and saved the first two penalty corners.
On a counter-attack, Pakistan could have taken the lead but Shafqat Rasool was too late on the ball with just the goalkeeper in front.
New Zealand broke through in the 12th minute off their third penalty corner when Richard Petherick shot home for Kiwis to lead 1-0.
In the 14th minute, New Zealand made it 2-0 when Joel Baker smashed home from the top of the circle.
Stunned by the reverse, Pakistan controlled the midfield as Muhammad Saqlain went about finding
Pakistan sticks in the Kiwi striking circle with some well controlled passes.
After failing with a penalty corner in the 32nd minute, Pakistan earned another in the 33rd minute. New Zealand was foxed by the variation as a dummy was sold to the defence and Shakeel Abbasi had all the time in the world to place it with a deft flick.
At the break, New Zealand led 2-1.
The second half belonged to Pakistan except for the fact that they just couldn’t get the all important equalizer. Three penalty corners and around five attempts in the Kiwi striking circle failed as the Kiwis held on to clinch the third spot in the tournament.