KARACHI: Pakistan were stunned by a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of arch-rivals India in the Sultan of Johor Cup junior hockey tournament in Johor Bahru, Malaysia yesterday.
The defeat has left Pakistan in a must-win situation for the remaining two matches against leaders Malaysia and Argentina in order to book a place in the final.
India and Malaysia are now the main contenders to battle for the title after winning three matches on the trot.
Pakistan started off well against the old foes, but failed to carry the momentum after missing a couple of opportunities.
Mohammad Tousiq’s penalty-corner in the fifth minute was remarkably saved by India goalkeeper Harjot Singh. Following this, India’s defence averted a well engineered attack from the trio of captain Umar Bhutta, Mohammad Dilber and Mohammad Umair.
India then took control and gained the lead from a second penalty-corner in the first-half as Sukhmanjit Singh struck the ball past goalkeeper Mazhar Abbas. Through repeated attacks, Imran Khan made the score 2-0 in the 45th minute while the lead was tripled by Sukhmanjit.
Ramandeep Singh completed the 4-0 mauling with a goal in the 61st minute.
Pakistan now face the high-flying hosts today, needing a victory to keep their chances alive for the final.
Malaysia replaced Pakistan on top of the table after overcoming England 3-1, while Korea were held to a 2-2 draw by Argentina after a last gasp goal in another match yesterday.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th, 2013.