Oman deny victory to Pakistan hockey team

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Lahore—Spirited Oman U-18 hockey team made a grand half rally to deny a win to Pakistan earning a 2-2 draw in the first test here on Friday at National hockey stadium.
The visiting side which trailed 0-1 at the end of the first half gave their best performance in the following session to stun their much fancied opponents who wasted numerous ideal sitters owning to poor finish in the striking circle and lack of coordination in demanding situations and also wasted the last minute short corner.
Both the teams are playing the four test match series as a part of their preparations to feature in the Junior Asia Cup being played in Dhaka later this month. The second test will be played tomorrow, Saturday, under lights at 8.00 pm.
The ongoing series has marked the return of international hockey in Pakistan after more than half a decade.
It was the first international outing for both the sides; the first five minutes saw the game confined to the mid field area.
The hosts then raided the opponents 23 and occasionally entered the circle without threatening. Pakistan’s first attempt on the goal came in the 11th minute via a good top of the circle strike by Ali Aziz but the goal keeper was well positioned to pad it away.
Oman’s first real raid yielded a penalty corner in the 16th minute but the ball was not stopped properly.
Over the next 10 minutes, Pakistani raids came in waves, mostly from the left side, but wasted mostly through very poor attempts. Oman recovered and a free ball saw their forward in an ideal position but he messed with it. Next minute saw, a wonderful combined Omani move but the diving striker failed to put the final touch.
Finally the ice was broken in the 30th minute when Waqar put the hosts ahead with a well-placed top of the circle shot.
Last five minutes of the first half were completely dominated by Pakistan and several gild edged chances came their way. Adeel’s well struck hit was well saved by the net minder. Then Adeel waltzed past two defenders and his pass found Ahmed Nadeem in excellent position, who fumbled. Kharullah was also a culprit.
Within two minutes into the second half, Adeel’s magnificent dribbling run saw him past three Omanis. When he released the ball, it eluded the defence and Naveed Alam had the simplest of the tasks to tap the ball in to make it 2-0.
When it seemed, Pakistan would run away with the match, an Omani foray found Pakistan defence napping and Fahad Juma reduced the margin with a reverse push. It was game on!
As the tempo went up, the tempers also flared up. Pakistan’s Adeel and visitor’s Hmaid Abdulla were given temporary suspension orders in the 41st and 42nd minutes. The hosts regrouped and again created a number of chances without finding the target. Oman also occasionally entered Pakistan’s danger area mostly on counter attacks. But hosts had the better of the exchanges.
Against the run of play, Oman had the equaliser in the 59th minute. Again, it was Fahad Juma whose thunderous reverse hit gave the custodian no chance. They even had a golden opportunity to go ahead but failed to capatilise on their second penalty corner.
Pakistan tried desperately for the goal during the last five minutes. The theme of the day continued: chances came and went, including their only penalty corner of the match.
Pakistan manager Kamran Ashraf said,” I am not disappointed by the performance of the players. It was these boys’ first international outing so they were under pressure. We created more chances but did a lot of missing”.—APP