Australia overcome stubborn green-shirts in Sultan of Johor Cup final 3-1Sport
With nothing to lose, Pakistan U-21 colts put a strong show against favorite Australia, who thrashed them 8-1 in round robin, before going down 3-1 in the final of the Sultan of Johor Cup Under 21 Hockey Tournament, which concluded on Sunday in Johor Bahru in Malaysia.
According to information made available, green-shirts surprised everyone when they went ahead in the seventh minute through the first penalty corner.
Instead of Abu Bakr, Pakistan's regular striker, also their top scorer in the event with four goals, it was 6' 3” tall Hassan Anwar who took it. His fast high flick on goal keeper's left side was unstoppable.
Australia replied in the similar manner within six minutes. Gerrard Frazer's penalty corner conversion was almost a replica of Hassan Anwar's effort.
The pace of the game went up with score-line showing 1-1.
Pakistani showed good temperament in defense and were fast to tackle Australian attacks. A melee in Pakistani circle resulted in Australia's second penalty corner in 32nd minute.
Goal keeper Muneeb brilliantly palmed it away with an outstretched left arm. The score was locked at 1-1 at the end of the first half.
The third quarter was dominated by the Aussies, who repeatedly entered Pakistan's circle. Three more penalty corners came their way.
On the fifth of the day, the penalty corner hit struck Pakistani line stopper's foot. The resultant penalty stroke was converted by Blake Govers and Australia were 2-1 ahead in the 47th minute.
Pakistan's sporadic attacks did create a few chances including their second penalty corner of the day but Australian deep defence managed to keep the lead intact.
With just four minutes left, Blake Govers' second goal off a penalty corner squeezed all hopes for Pakistani youngsters of making a late comeback.
However, securing second place on the podium in the event should be considered a good performance from Pakistan, who had never finished above fourth place at any of the five previous editions of Sultan of Johor Cup.
In the last two events, they ended at bottom-rock sixth position.
With Pakistan's second position in this tournament, it could be hoped from the green-shirts that they will put another strong show in Junior World Cup, which will be played next month from December 8-18 in Lucknow, India.
Japan secured third position followed by England, Malaysia and New Zealand in fourth, fifth and sixth position respectively.