Hosts fall to Pakistan
Bangladesh went down 3-0 to Pakistan in hockey of the 11th South Asian (SA) Games at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium yesterday.
A listless performance lacking the cutting edge gave an easy win to Pakistan who looked better equipped both physically and technically against the hosts. Bangladesh created very little in open play and missed a string of chances from penalty corners, while Pakistan capitalised on the few chances they created to script the convincing win.
Pakistan defender Wasif Siddique converted two penalty corners in the second half after Abdul Qayyum had given them a first half lead with a superlative solo effort the 20th minute. This win put Pakistan in pole position for a place in the final while Bangladesh now must beat both Nepal and India to stand any chance of making it to the gold-deciding match.
Bangladesh coach Gerhard Peter Rach seemed satisfied with what he saw from his boys. "We played better hockey than them. We created a lot more chances than they did. It's a pity we couldn't score," was the analysis of the German coach.
"We are still a very young side, but we are improving with every game. We played much better today than we did against Sri Lanka. So, I'm satisfied with the effort, may be not with the outcome."
Bangladesh earned as many as seven penalty corners during the game, but failed to capitalise on any of them while converted two of the four they created. Pakistan keeper Imran Butt had a brilliant game, foiling four penalty corners.
Bangladesh started the game brightly stringing a couple of attacks early. And their first penalty corner came on the seventh minute. Mamunur Rahman forced a good save from Pakistan keeper Imran Butt.
Pakistan started to take authority of the midfield hardly after ten minutes with Waqas Akbar surging down the left flank a couple of times. Their persistence was rewarded when on the 20th minute Qayyum showed lovely stickwork to collect a lob from Waqas, turned the stick on the hand and unleashed a superlative hit on the top right corner of the post.
Bangladesh were looking to find an opening through penalty corners as they failed to assert any authority in the match with field game. Mamunur Rahman was once again denied by superb goalkeeping from Butt.
Bangladesh came close to scoring in the fifth minute of the second half when Rasel Mahmud created a wonderful opportunity inside the box, but none of the three strikers present in the melee could put the ball into the back of the net.
Pakistan got their second in the 47th minute through a penalty corner. This was a string of three corners, the last of which was aptly converted by defender Wasif Siddique.
The same player scored his second and Pakistan's third one minute from the end from an identical situation and completed a very comfortable afternoon job for Pakistan.
In the earlier match of the day, Sri Lanka thrashed Nepal by 15-1 at the same venue. The winning side led the first half 9-0. Sri Lanka skipper Abeyarathne started the Nepalese demolition on the third minute and emerged as the highest scorer with six goals. Nepal found a consolation goal through Dipendra, their only goal so far in the competition, one minute from the final whistle. This was the first victory for Sri Lanka after going down 3-1 against Bangladesh and 7-1 against India. On the other hand, Nepal had lost their first match against India 21-0 and then lost against Pakistan 19-0.