Pakistan’s draw against New Zealand ignites tournament excitement

Pakistan Holds Strong in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2024, Eyes Victory Against Japan in Final

The Pakistani team continues to display outstanding performance in the ongoing 30th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2024 in Ipoh, Malaysia, as they secured a draw against New Zealand 1-1 after a fierce battle.

Having already secured a spot in the final following their victory against Canada on Wednesday, the Pakistani team will compete against Japan in the final of the event tomorrow (Saturday).

The game remained scoreless until halftime as both teams failed to capitalize on the opportunities they created.

However, New Zealand took the lead in the 35th minute with a field goal by Luke Holmes, but Pakistan equalized eight minutes later, with Abu Bakar Mahmood scoring from a penalty corner.

Pakistan maintained an unbeaten record during the round-robin stage of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, registering three wins and two draws in five matches.

They only dropped points in matches against Japan and New Zealand.

Pakistan’s performance in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup should serve as a morale boost for the team, especially considering their upcoming participation in the FIH Nations Cup in Gniezno, Poland, from May 31 to June 9.

The Nations Cup holds significance as the winning team will earn the opportunity to compete in the FIH Hockey Pro League for the 2024-25 season.

Previously, while discussing Pakistan’s opponents in the final, forward Abdul Hannan Shahid highlighted Japan’s formidable defensive lineup.

Japan has conceded only four goals, the fewest in the tournament thus far, in as many matches.

“Japan’s defense is exceptionally sturdy, and they rarely leave openings for their opponents,” he remarked. “While they may not possess as much creativity in attack as some other teams, they excel at capitalizing on their opponents’ mistakes on the field.”

“Although Pakistan has scored a significant number of goals, we have also conceded at the other end. However, we will strive to address our defensive shortcomings in the remaining matches,” he concluded.

Japan will compete against Canada, while hosts Malaysia will face off against Korea in the remaining matches today.