Asian Games Men’s Hockey: Pakistan qualifies for the final

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Pakistan has qualified for the hockey final in Asian Games after beating South Korea by 4-3 on the penalty strokes in the first semi-final in Guangzhou, China.
The semi-final match between Pakistan and South Korea ended 1-1 within regulation time. Mohammad Waqas scored first goal from Pakistan’s side in the 22nd minute. Kang Moon-kyu from South Korean’s side equalised this goal in the 39th
minute. After the regulation 70 minutes, the two sides were level at 3-3.
When the additional time of 30 minutes could also not give any results, the match was forced into penalty strokes. Goalkeeper for Pakistan, Salman Akbar performed his best and prevented the last shot of a penalty shoot-out against to lead his team into Asian
Games men’s hockey first final in 20 years.
“I have never played such a nerve-wrecking game in my life,” said Akbar, a veteran of 300 internationals.
South Korea’s dreams of achieving a hat-trick of titles ended after this match. Pakistani hockey team were reduced to ten men when Mohammad Imran was sent off, and Korea took the lead as Kang hit the ball past to Salman to make it 1-1. Although South Korea
had a chance to win the match by captivating a short corner in over time, but the shot was put aside by defender Mohammad Rashid.
Pakistan’s victory has created a stream of happiness among fans of Pakistan’s hockey. Pakistan who won the last of his seven gold medals in Beijing Asian Games in 1990 has not pocketed a major title since the victory of World Cup in 1994 in Sydney.
Chief selector of Pakistan hockey team giving his view said that Salman Akbar proved to be a world-class keeper.  Further telling about team’s position he did not seem much happy with prolonged time of the match. In his view this semi-final could have ended
without sudden death if Pakistani players have played dynamically throughout the match. He is hopeful for the Pakistani hockey team to carry on its appreciable performance even in the final.



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