Pak women go down fighting hard in AHF Cup semifinal


ISLAMABAD, Oct 8 (APP): In their first ever semi final appearance at  the Asian Hockey Federation Cup, Pakistani women went down to hosts  Thailand 1-5 in Bangkok on Saturday.

According to information received here, the FIH’s 55th ranked Pakistan,  who have surprised everyone by reaching the semfinal, were outplayed by the 35th ranked Thailand.

Pakistani girls fought well, especially in the first half which ended  1-2 but the hosts, the most experienced of all the nine sides, were definitely a more well rehearsed side.

Thai girls were in the offensive mood from the beginning. But
Pakistani defence held on well for sometime.

The hosts had their first penalty corner in the 10th minute, which was immediately followed by two more.

Goal keeper Rizwana Yasmin saw off the first two but she had no answer to K. Sanpoung’s strong and angular flat push of the third PC.

Pakistan’s first real chance came in the 16th minute but the top of  the circle hit went too high.

Second Thai goal was the culmination of a wonderful passing move in the 21st minute. N. Aunjai provided an equally neat finish. Then they had two more penatlyr corners but the Pakistani defence read them effectively.

Out of nowhere, Pakistan managed to reduce the margin. A delightful  passing move involving three players had the rival defence in the tatters and Kulsoom Shahzadi netted the ball in.

The jolted Thailand side raided the opponent’s territory and had two  field attempts and a penalty corner in a short spell.

Having weathered the storm, Pakistan made a couple of wonderful raids  and earned their first penalty corner in the last minute of the first half. A good indirect drill was employed and ball remained in the circle for quite a while but was cleared.

Second half saw more Thai domination. Hosts, the silver medallist of  the 2015 South East Asian Games, had far more possession and chances. They added three more goals in this period.

Captain T. Sakunpithak had a brace. Her two goals, coming in 51 and 58  minutes, were almost identical:excellent top of the circle well placed  shots after well coordinated moves.

The fifth goal came via the only  penalty corner conversion of the day in the 65th minute. It was hosts’  10th penaty corner.

Pakistani sorties were few and far between, and earned just two penalty  corners. It was also observed that the Pakistani girls often indulged in long hitting and invariably lost possession.

The few occasions, when small passes were employed to go ahead, they almost always caused problem to the rivals.

Pakistan’s head coach Saeed Khan commented, “There are no excuses.

The  better side won. Thais have been very active on the international circuit especially during the last five years. Being hosts, they were fully  prepared for the event. It was Pakistani women’s first international appearance in three years.

We have an important 3rd position match to go. I am hopeful that the  girls would put today’s disappointment behind them and go all out tomorrow.”