Bhubaneswar: Pakistan put a great find in their second Pool D match of the men’s hockey world cup drawing 1-1 against Malaysia here at the Kalinga Stadium on Wednesday.
However, with both sides having tough opponents in their final round of matches – Pakistan play the Netherlands, Malaysia take on Germany – there is still the potential for the placings to change.
There was little to choose between the two sides in the first two quarters, with both teams having chances to take the lead but not making the most of their opportunities. Despite the lack of goals, it was certainly not short of entertainment as two attack-minded sides took each other on.
Despite having conceded seven times against the Netherlands, Malaysia’s back-line showed great discipline to frustrate Pakistan’s attackers, while both goalkeepers – Malaysia veteran Kumar Subramiam and Pakistan’s Imran Butt – also impressed.
The third quarter also went scoreless, but the fourth quarter was full of excitement. Pakistan took the lead when Muhammad Atiq received a long pass from midfield before turning his marker and finding the bottom corner of the Malaysia goal.
It was a strike that left Malaysia’s future in the competition very much hanging in the balance, but they hit back with five minutes left to play thanks to a superb penalty corner drag-flick from Odisha Player of the Match Faizal Saari, who sent an unstoppable effort into the top left corner to keep alive his team’s hopes of moving into the knockout stages.
Speaking after the match, Malaysia goalkeeper Kumar Subramiam said: “I think the guys played very well today. Being down one goal and then getting it back to 1-1 is not easy, so I think we did well. We know there is a big goal difference, but maybe that can change in the last round of the matches.”