India ousted, Pak beats Malaysia 6-5 as both reach semis
Melbourne, Mar 22: India's medal hopes in Men's Hockey competition was dashed after Malaysia, despite their 5-6 defeat against Pakistan in the last league encounter, booked a semifinal berth by virtue of better goal average in the Commonwealth Games here today.
With this win, Pakistan topped the pool with 10 points while Malaysia, by virtue of having better goal difference, pipped India to the post and made it to the last four from this pool.
Striker Rehan Butt scored the match winning goal off a penalty corner, nine minutes before close as Pakistan thwarted a strong Malaysian challenge to emerge winner.
Malaysia and India, with seven points each, were tied at the points table but India went out of the contention after scoring 14 goals compared to 16 by Malaysia in the four pool matches and if Pakistan had beaten Malaysia with a two-goal difference, India could have qualified.
Malaysia swept away Pakistan with three goals in an action-packed stint, locking the score at 5-5 before Pakistan led 4-2 at half time.
The Malaysians took up the charge off the short corners and their captain Kuhan Shanmuganathan displayed prowess and accurate shooting to convert four penalty corners for a hat trick, shattering the confidence of a fancied rival who found it hard to salvage their pride after being 5-5.
The Malaysian side stunned Pakistan by taking lead in the fifth minute converting their first short corner, out of five of the play, through Kuhan who later emerged as a prime threat to the opponents for his brilliance and timely acts in the conversion drills. Pakistan, however, was soon back in the game and dictated terms and conditions to their opponents by hammering three goals in the space of seven minutes, demoralising their rivals.
Out of three short corners of the play, Adnan Maqsood translated the first one in the eighth minute to make it 1-1 and two minutes later Shakeel Abbasi scored a spectacular goal with a reverse hit in a diving effort before smartly connecting a left flank pass.
Pakistan made it 3-1 when Muhammad Shabbir atoned for his previous wasting of a sitter by showing the way to a moving ball to the post after Rehan fed him with a parallel pass.
Muhammad Imran converted the second short corner into a goal in the 21st minute but the die-hard Malaysian side then hit back with their second goal off the their second short corner through Kuhan in the 24th minute.
Pakistan went into the second half on a confident note, slamming their fifth goal in the 37th minute when Rehan superbly placed the ball in before Malaysia missed their third penalty corner.
In the next 14 minutes, the Malaysian were the masters of the situation, keeping Pakistan under pressure producing three goals to level it 5-5. Two goals in space of as many minutes were enough to turn Pakistan defensive. Kuhan completed his hat trick in the 45th minute off the fourth penalty corner with Huat Boon Chua contributing a field goal in the 46th minute and then again Kuhan (58th minute) translating a short corner to put his side back on the track.
Reliable striker Rehan rescued Pakistan in the 61st minute seizing a goalkeeper deflection off the third short corner.
Pakistan, after a days rest tomorrow, will meet England in the semifinals where as Malaysia will clash Australia in the second semifinal.