Pak U21 make flying start in Sultan of Johor Cup


JOHAR BAHRU, Malaysia, Oct 31 (APP): Pakistan under 21 hockey team made a flying start at the Sultan of Johor Cup here in the Malaysian city of Johor Bahru on Monday, registering an emphatic 5-2 victory over the formidable New Zealand.
The Greenshirts, who were always in ascendancy, led 2-0 at half time.
Nevertheless, the Kiwis put up a gallant fight and at 1-2 and 2-3, they were twice close to equalizing the match.
The two sides played fast and attractive hockey with chances galore for
both the teams. But the Pakistani boys kept on looking for goals all the time and in the end achieved a big morale boasting win.
Bilal Qadir opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when he expertly
deflected a strong cross from left. Two minutes before the half time, Mubashar doubled the lead on a penalty corner with a strong drag flick on goal keeper’s left side.
New Zealand reduced the margin in 46th minute. Sam Lane put it in after a melee resulting from Pakistani net minder’s rebound. Within two minutes, Pakistan restored the two goal cushion through a Sohail Riaz strike, who finished off a fine combined move.
The Greenshirts had a scare when Mac Wilcox made it 3-2 as he pounced on a penalty corner rebound.
With 10 minutes left, the black sticks repeatedly raided the opposition
citadel to put it even. But the Pakistani defence held out well. Off a counter attack, Mohsin Sabir’s diagonal cross from right was beautifully deflected by the Lahore lad Rana Sohail for his second and team’s fourth goal.
Captain Dilber added his name to the scorers’ list in the last minute.
He controlled a difficult bouncing ball at the top of the circle and found the right corner of the board with an angular shot.
Pak: Rana Sohail 2 (48’ & 65”, Bilal Qadir 22”, Mubashar Ali 33’ & Dilber 70’)
NZ: Sam Lane 46’ and Mac Wilcox 59’)
Pakistan will play their next match against England on Tuesday.