Pakistan lost to Korea 4-3 even though they were in lead in the first half. The defeat against Korea was a big upset for Pakistan hockey at World Hockey League, Johor Bahu, Malaysia. With this defeat Pakistan are out of the medals race and will not feature among the first three teams on the podium that will qualify for the 2014 World Cup. In order to qualify for the World Cup, the only chance Pakistan now have, is to win the Asia Cup in September. If it doesn’t then it will be first time in the history of Pakistan hockey that it did not compete in the World Cup, even though it has won the trophy a record four times. The salient features of the PAK vs Korea game were:
34 minutes remaining – KOR attack from left wing.
31 minutes remaining – KOR once again from left. Korean seem to have attacking strategy.
31 minutes remaining – M Imran gives stray pass, intercepted by KOR attacker.
30 minutes remaining – GOAL! PAK RW Waqas scores. Quick counter attack. First time passing, direct hit from top of circle. Score 1-0.
28 minutes remaining – PAK GK makes save in front of goal mouth, but PC awarded. Goes wide.
27 minutes remaining – KOR penetration from LW.
25 minutes remaining – LH Aamir receives from LB Imran. Moves in round circles and makes stray hit, though plenty of support was available.
24 minutes remaining – Good move from right by PAK. First time short passes between RH and RW.
RW Waqas centres to top of circle, found by CF who takes shot at goal from top of the circle but KOR GK saves.
KOR captain injured. Taken off pitch! A blow to KOR.
22 minutes remaining – KOR launch quick counter attack. Penetrate circle. M Imran blocks and dribbles to clear confidently.
PAK defender grabs KOR player by shirt. Umpire warns. Shouldn’t do this in front of umpire, maybe subtle! Shows inexperience.
20 minutes remaining – Fareed Ahmed is CH. Tauseeq comes in as RH.
19 minutes remaining – Beautiful goal from PAK. Quick interchanging from right to left. First time sweep from top of circle by Tauseeq catches keeper by surprise!
Shakeel Abbasi rotating from right wing to left wing.
4 minutes remaining – GOAL! KOR score on a PC indirect. Deflection goes b/w feet of keeper and last man. score 2-1
33 seconds remaining – KOR mount pressure to equalise before end of 1st half. Gain PC. Foiled. PAK Lucky to survive.
HALF TIME. PAK 2 KOR 1
First half summary: KOR keep more possession in opposing half and make more circle penetrations than Pakistan. Shows their aggressive strategy in this game. A thoroughly entertaining first half.
34 minutes remaining – PAK start 2nd half with possession but lose it when RH tauseeq makes a wild stray hit!
33 minutes remaining – PAK gain possession but lose it again with stray aerial to left wing.
32 minutes remaining – GOAL! High drama! Poor clearance by PAK defender finds KOR forward’s stick in top right of circle who sweeps and deflection goes in goal. Goal awarded to KOR. But PAK protest results in umpire disallowing goal! KOR demand referral. Goal re-awarded to KOR! Score 2-2!
29 minutes remaining – Shafqat Rasool blind hit in 25.
27 minutes remaining – GOAL! PAK score on PS. PAK attempt hits KOR defender’s feet on the line as GK is afar and umpire blows whistle for penalty stroke. Shakeel Abbasi’s well executed flick finds the top right net! PAK 3, KOR 2.
27 minutes remaining – KOR players crowd up as PAK attempts to penetrate. PAK right trio attempts to dribble past crowd! Inexperience.
23 minutes remaining – GOAL! KOR score on PC. KOR penetrate from RW to win PC. Carpet push to Keeper’s left foot. Keeper and post man didn’t move! Score 3 all.
22 minutes remaining – GOAL! KOR score field goal. Short passes from left flank. One handed pass from KOR attacker at deep left is deflected in goal. KOR now leading 3-4.
17 minutes remaining – PAK miss penalty stroke! PS awarded to PAK due to deliberate stick obstruction on Zubair’s attempt at goal. Shakeel Abbasi misses. Flicks to left of Keeper, hip height. Keeper saves with left glove. PAK in dire straits!
16 minutes remaining – Fine run from RW by Abbasi, penetrates circle but fails to find support.
15 minutes remaining – PC, first of the game to PAK as KOR defender deliberately blocks RW in 25. Imran’s sweep goes wide.
13 minutes remaining – Another PC awarded to PAK as GK obstructs the ball. Indirect goes wide! Its not just PAK’s day today!
10 minutes remaining – M Rizwan indecisive with the ball in LW.
10 minutes remaining – Tauseeq gets green card and is sent off. PAK down to 10 men.
9 minutes remaining – KOR miss open net chance! Another excellent move by KOR.
7 minutes remaining – Counter attack by PAK. Shafqat Rasool’s sprint in RW and centre hits KOR defender’s foot in D. PC awarded and indirect is foiled by KOR defence. PAK demanding referral. Umpire says he can’t give one as there is a power blackout in the video umpire’s room!
Game restarted with bully.
Game ends. FINAL SCORE KOR 4, PAK 3.
The game that PAK displayed in the first half was not seen in the second. PAK started the second half defensively instead of mounting more attacks and increase the goal margin. Korea capitalized on this and equalized, and even managed to take the lead. Had PAK continued the fast attacking pace it began the first half with, and netted in more goals the task would have been difficult for KOR. Haseem Khan was well marked, and couldn’t do much. When the forward line is not moving with unison, then there isn’t much individual runs and sprints can do when a team is losing. The need is for the entire forward line to surge in attack. Losing a penalty stroke, not converting penalty corners, not taking advantage of scoring opportunities all contributed to our loss.
In hockey, time is of the essence. If a team manages to utilise its time appropriately, goes early into the lead, keeps scoring, then the opposition has a tall order in front of it. Score a few goals and then go defensive, will leave you to face the full brunt of the opposition’s attack and if you are not good enough at defending then this could prove costly. This is what has happened to PAK.