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FIH Nations Cup: Pakistan snatch draw with last-minute goal against Malaysia

Pakistan players celebrate after scoring a goal. – FIH

In a remarkable comeback, Pakistan on Friday averted defeat with a last-minute goal against Malaysia in their opening match of the FIH Nations Cup in Gniezno, Poland.

The match ended in a 4-4 draw despite the fact that Malaysia had a 3-0 lead in the first quarter.

Fitri Saari, Abu Kamal, and Faizal Saari scored within the first 11 minutes of the match after taking advantage of some poor defending by Pakistan.

However, Abdul Rehman opened Pakistan’s account in the third quarter to keep his side’s hopes alive in the game.

But Saari scored another through a penalty stroke to once again extend Malaysia’s lead to three goals.

Despite the odds stacked against them, Pakistan team didn’t lose hope and kept on attacking the Malaysian goal.

Sufyan Khan finally scored Pakistan’s second goal in the 43rd minute with Hannan Shahid adding another nine minutes later.

Meanwhile, Abu Bakr Mahmood scored the equaliser in the dying seconds of the match after Pakistan were awarded a penalty stroke.

Pakistan team recently impressed during the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia but lost in the final to Japan on penalty shootout.

Pakistan hockey was at an all-time low when they failed to qualify for the Olympics, where they won three gold medals, for the third consecutive time earlier this year. Additionally, the Green Shirts also failed to qualify for the World Cup, where they bagged gold four times in the past, last year.

However, the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup proved to be a breath of fresh air for hockey fans after Pakistan qualified for the final of the event for the first time in 13 years.

The Nations Cup is important because the winning team will have the opportunity to play in the FIH Hockey Pro League for the 2024-25 season.

Austria, Canada, France, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa will join hosts Poland in competing at the men’s Nation’s Cup. The teams have been split into two Pools of 5 and 4 teams. Pakistan are in Pool B with Canada, France and Malaysia.

Pakistan’s next match is against Canada on June 2.  

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