Korea crush Pakistan 4-1 in friendly

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Beijing, Aug 6 (UNI) Former champion Pakistan suffered an embarrassing 1-4 defeat and also had their star centre half Mohd Saqlain seriously injured in a friendly hockey match against South Korea in a run up to their Olympic Games preparation here today.

Pakistan who led 1-0 at half time, started on an aggressive note and pushed their rivals into defensive mode.

The Pakistanis struck in the 23rd minute through Mohd Imran and then held the lead till the breather.

However, the Pakistanis were rattled when their former skipper Mohd Saqlain suffered a serious nose injury and had to leave the field and suddenly their game went haywire.

The Korean launched furious onslaught and pumped in four goals which left Pakistani scurrying for cover.

''We were playing OK but in the second half our game was miserable,'' coach Naveed Alam said later.

He admitted that injury to Saqlain effected the players but still this is no excuse to lose by such a big margin, he added.

Alam, a former Olympian himself, was not sure if Saqlain will play in the team's opening match against England on August 11.

''Our defence was not up to the mark,'' said chief coach and manager Zaka ud din. ''There were too many gaps in the left flank, while forwards missed some open goals.'' ''We will have to improve drastically if we want a podium finish,'' he added.

Zaka also agreed that absence of Mohd Saqlain will be felt if the star player does not recover soon.

UNI HSB RKM KN1859

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