Dhaka: Pakistan secured their first win of the Asian Champions Trophy with a resounding 6-2 win over Bangladesh, moving up to third in the table and setting up a semi-final against South Korea.
Pakistan went into their final round-robin game knowing that a two-goal win would overtake third-place Japan, which India had beaten 6–0 on the first day.
But a goal each from doubles Ejaz Ahmed and Ahmed Nadeem and Afraj and Mohammad Razzaq gave them a four-goal victory as Bangladesh secured both their goals through Arshad Hossain.
Pakistan beat Japan by goal difference, five points at both levels, one point behind second-placed South Korea, while India topped with 10 points.
Bangladesh went into the game after losing their first three matches and knew they would have to trouble Pakistan to make it to the semi-finals.
Arshad jolted him in the 13th minute and leveled Ahmed in the very next minute.
It was the start of Pakistan’s run of goals which saw them score four more goals in the next 20 minutes.
Ejaz drew 2-1 in the 18th and Afraz scored his own goal in the 24th. Ahmed scored his second goal two minutes later with Razzaq 4-1 in the 34th.
Arshad returned once for Bangladesh in the 34th but Ajaz sealed the victory for his team four minutes later.
Earlier, Harmanpreet Singh from a penalty corner gave India a 2-0 lead against Japan in the 10th minute and Dilpreet Singh in the 23rd minute.
Jarmanpreet Singh scored the third goal in a span of seven minutes before Sumit, Harmanpreet and Shamsher Singh registered a resounding victory for India.
Japan will have to work to avoid another setback from India when they meet the Tokyo Olympic bronze medalists in the semi-finals on Tuesday.
Pakistan’s match against South Korea on the same day is expected to be equally contested as they played out a 3-3 draw against each other on Saturday.
Published in Dawn, December 20, 2021