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Pakistan start their Hockey Asia Cup with a massive 7-0 win over Bangladesh

Pakistan produced an impressive performance to outclass Bangladesh 7-0 in their opening campaign at the 10th edition of the men’ Asia Cup hockey tournament.

Report by  Asghar Ali Mubarak

Pakistan defeated Bangladesh 7-0 in their opening fixture of 10th Men's Hockey Asia Cup on the opening day at Maulana Bhashani Hockey Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The green shirts completely dominated the proceedings throughout and created numerous open play chances along with nine penalty corners.

But the first match jitters were very much evident as they scored just one goal in the first half, courtesy Abubakr Mahmood's PC conversion in the second quarter, whose powerful flick went into the net off goal keeper Asim's palm. Pakistan missed a lot of scoring opportunities in thefitst half of the match which Bangladesh had their best chance of the match late in the first half when a faulty Pakistani clearance led to an easy top of the circle opportunity but the Bangladeshi captain Rashel shot just wide with the goal at his mercy.

Two back to back goals early in the second half calmed Pakistani bench's nerves. Arslan Qadir was obstructed in the circle which resulted in a penalty stroke, Ammad Shakeel Butt sent the goal keeper the wrong way with a high push to the top left corner of the goal. Soon, a reverse hander from the left of the circle was sent into the cage by an excellent touch of Arslan Qadir with an extended stick held high.

Off the fifth Plenty Corner, a little variation at the top of the circle worked. Skipper Irfan drew the rushers before slipping the ball to Abubakr, who flicked it into the net to make it 4-0.

The last quarter also saw three goals. Ammad Butt after receiving the ball in the circle from a right side attack beautifully side stepped the net minder before putting it in. Then Abubakr completed his hat trick availing the seventh Plenty Corner. Though his push was straight on to the goal keeper but the ball deflected into the goal. The last goal came in the final minute. Arslan Qadir created space at the top of the circle in a crowded defence before slotting home with a spectacular reverse hit for his second of the evening.

Abubakr Mahmood:3 (18',41', 50')
Ammad Shakeel Butt:2 (33', 47')
Arslan Qadir: 2 (33', 60')

Hero Man of Match:
M.Rizwan Senior (12,500 Takas)

Pakistan will play Japan on Friday, 13th October. Earlier, India defeated Japan by 5-1 in the opening match of the tournament.

The eight-team tournament will serve as a platform for 2018 World Cup as the winner will directly qualify for upcoming World Cup to be held from November 24 in India.

This was the fifth match between Pakistan and Bangladesh in Asia Cup with Pakistan winning all four previous encounters.

Earlier, Pakistan played the only practice match of the tournament against China on Monday and defeated them by 3-2.

South Korea is the most successful Asia Cup team with 4 titles and also the defending champions from the last edition held in 2013. For the teams like South Korea, Japan and China, it’s not only the title they are after, but a place in the 2018 World Cup in India also. The three Asian teams which have already booked a place in the upcoming World are the hosts India, Malaysia and Pakistan.

Introduced in 1982, the inaugural Men’s Asia Cup was won by Pakistan, who also won the next two editions in 1985 and 1989. Since then, India (2003, 2007) and Korea (1993, 1999, 2009 and 2013) have also been champions in the nine editions played so far.

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