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Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2024: Pakistan draw match against New Zealand

Courtesy: Geo News

Green Shirts versus Kiwis’ match ends in 1-1 draw ahead of final in which Pakistan to take on Japan tomorrow

The Green Shirts have continued exhibiting splendid performance in the ongoing 30th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2024 in Ipoh, Malaysia, as they drew the match against New Zealand 1-1 after a tough fight.

Pakistan had already qualified for the final after their win against Canada on Wednesday. The Green Shirts will face Japan in the final of the event tomorrow (Saturday).

The match remained goalless till half-time since both teams weren’t able to capitalise on the chances they created.

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

Pakistan remained unbeaten during the round-robin stage of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup with 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 be a morale booster for the team especially because the team has to feature in the FIH Nations Cup in Gniezno, Poland, from May 31 to June 9 as well.

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.

Earlier, while shedding light on Pakistan’s opponents in the final, forward Abdul Hannan Shahid said that Japan’s defensive line is extremely solid. Japan have only conceded four goals, the fewest in the tournament so far, in as many matches.

“Japan are defensively very solid and they don’t give many openings to their opponents,” he said. “As far as attack is concerned, they might not be as creative as some of the other teams but they are quite effective in taking advantage of their opponents’ mistakes on the field.”

“Pakistan have scored a high number of goals but at the same time, we are conceding at the other end as well. However, we will try to rectify our defensive flaws in the remaining matches,” he added.

Japan will face Canada and hosts Malaysia will lock horns with Korea in the remaining matches today.

1- Header image: Pakistan player tackles New Zealand players in a match during 30th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, May 10, 2024. — Facebook/@flashsukan.official

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