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Pakistan score third straight win
May 29, 2005 20:19 IST
Continuing their winning spree, Pakistan recorded their third straight victory, outplaying South Africa 2-0 in the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
In an earlier match, Malaysia beat India 4-1.
Pakistan played an attractive attacking game full of fluency and flair despite the suspension of their captain Muhammad Saqlain from this match.
The thought of their pivot not being there was no deterrent as their upfront men were well nourished by center half Adnan Maqsood.
There were constant forays from the flanks by Rehan Butt and Shabbir Husain and down the middle domination by playmaker and stand-in skipper Mudassar Ali, playing his first game of the tournament, and striker Shakeel Abbasi.
The three-time champions and the last edition's runners-up drew first blood in the 24th minute when Abbasi latched on to Dilawar Husain's cross to beat South Africa goalkeeper Chris Hibbert with a solo.
It became 2-0 in the 30th minute when Butt, set up by Akhtar Ali, cashed in on an opportunist moment after a goalmouth scramble.
In the second half, South Africa tried in vain to reduce the margin through two penalty-corners.
Pakistan nearly got their third goal late in the match but Abbasi was unable to hit past Hibbert after being set up by Tariq Aziz.
With this win Pakistan are on top of the league table with nine points, while South Africa remain with one point from three outings.