Pakistan thrash China to confirm semis berth

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KARACHI: Pakistan confirmed their presence in the semi-finals of the 4th Asian Champions Trophy on Thursday when they outclassed China 4-0 with Haseem Khan scoring a couple of goals.

Pakistan would have failed to reach the last-four stage only if China had won the match by 7-0.

Pakistan’s opponents in the semi-finals will be known on Saturday (tomorrow) after the last match of the round robin between Malaysia and Korea.

The first quarter was more or less evenly matched. The Green-shirts were the better side in the next 15 minutes. They completely dominated the last 30 minutes: entering the rivals’ circle at will, creating numerous chances and wasting most. Only one out of the six penalty corners was converted.

The first two goals were scored by Haseem Khan, who individually made dangerous moves and smashed the Chinese defenders.

In the 21st minute, off the third penalty corner, a variation was employed. Tauseeq’s push from the top of the circle was deflected into the goal by Haseem’s flat stick.

Just one minute into the second half, Haseem, once again dived to lunge on a long hit into the Chinese circle with an extended stick in one hand to score from a close range.

The last two goals arrived inside the 48th minute. Ali Shan provided finishing touch to a left side attack. Moments later, Ejaz sent a pass from the left side which was slotted into the net by Irfan Junior, sprinting into the middle of the circle.

After the first 15 minutes, China were mainly seen defending. They did enter Pakistan’s circle, mostly on turn overs and also had four penalty corners.  Amjad Ali, Pakistan’s goalkeeper for the day, performed well whenever called into action.