PESHAWAR, June 25 (APP): Pakistan beat China 3-1 to finish 7th at the
Hero Hockey World League Semi-final Round at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Sunday. With this victory, Pakistan are virtually assured of a place in the 2018 World Cup.
According to information received here, it was the match for the 7th and 8th position with Pakistan finishing 7th after defeating China 3-1 and booked a place in the next year World Cup. For the team at the 8th position, the qualification wasn’t guaranteed.
Pakistan cut it fine and till the end of the first 10th minute play no
team could goal because the ball was confined to mid-field.Tension was mounting among the Pakistanis in the ground, on the bench and in the stands.
In the 51st minute, Ammad Shakeel Butt, perhaps the most impressive
Pakistani player in this event, beautifully robbed a defender. After a good run along the left flank, he slipped the ball to Dilber near the circle whose first touch found Umar Bhutta in an excellent position. Bhutta’s angular shot hit the right corner of the goal.
A goal down, China put more players forward leaving gaps in the defence.
Two more goals came in quick succession in the 56th minute. A sweeping counter starting from deep inside Pakistan’s territory resulted in Bhutta, again, making it 2-0 with a reverse flick.
Then an excellent reverse hit from the left was deflected into the cage
by the diving Irfan junior. China got a consolation goal with two minutes left on the clock.
A ball into the circle was well dispatched on the board by an unmarked
Guo Xiaoping with a first time strike.
It was quite an absorbing contest with stakes high for both the sides.
The first-half saw the two sides creating chances through open play as well as the PCs.
Third quarter was also entertaining; an up and down stuff at quite a
fast pace. Then arrived the exciting last quarter with goals aplenty.
Pakistan: Umar Bhutta (2) & M.Irfan Jr
China: Guo Xiaoping