Asian Champions Trophy hockey: Pakistan beat China 2-1 to remain in contention

Former champions Pakistan bounced back into contention, recovering from two successive draws following their defeat in the opening match, by beating bottom-placed China 2-1 in the AHF Men’s Asian Champions Trophy here on Monday.

Former champions Pakistan bounced back into contention, recovering from two successive draws following their defeat in the opening match, by beating bottom-placed China 2-1 in the AHF Men’s Asian Champions Trophy here on Monday.

Pakistan had started the event with a 1-3 defeat to Malaysia in their first match on August 3 and then played out a 1-1 draw with Korea and a 3-3 stalemate with Asian Games winner Japan. They had failed to capitalise on a goal advantage against Korea and had to fight back from a deficit against Japan.

Languishing towards the bottom of the table with two points from three matches, Pakistan needed to win the match and did just that with a 2-1 win against minnows China.

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After a goalless first quarter, Pakistan took the lead in the 20th minute when Muhammad Khan scored off a penalty corner. China levelled the score within three minutes when Gao Jiesheng converted a PC for China. Pakistan went ahead again in the 39th minute when Afraz scored a field goal in the 39th minute.

The two teams made several attempts in the fourth quarter and Pakistan claimed three points to move up to five points in the standings and are in fourth place in the six-team competition.

The win is a big boost for Pakistan ahead of the key clash with archrivals India in their final league match on Wednesday.

 (IANS)

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