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Two first-half goals powered Pakistan to a comfortable victory over lowly Canada in a Group B match of the 16th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Ipoh, Malaysia, on Tuesday.
The Pakistanis were rarely troubled after Shabbir Khan deflected home an Akhtar Ali reverse hit in the fourth minute.
Ali then came up with a brilliant solo run in the 33rd minute and capped it with a carpet shot to the board for the second goal that effectively killed the Canadian challenge.
The victory, their first in two matches following a draw with Malaysia, took Pakistan to four points while the Canadians completed their league engagements without a victory.
The closest Canada came to scoring was in the 67th when Anthony Wright got a touch to a Wayne Fernandes cross, but the ball struck the upright and rebounded into play.
For the best part of the game, the Canadians were pegged inside their own half, but the Pakistani finish was simply woeful with the forwards repeatedly penetrating into the circle only to get it all wrong.
Further, the Pakistanis wasted five penalty-corners, all their attempts being parried by the keeper.
MALAYSIA IN SEMIS
Hosts Malaysia rode their luck to post a 1-0 win over Asian Games champions Korea and advance to the semi-finals.
After committing schoolboy errors inside the striking circle throughout the game, the Malaysians struck a most astonishing goal in the 59th minute against run of play.
A right midfield scoop by Zulkifli Rejab saw the ball drop just outside the top of the circle. Two defenders and the Korean goalkeeper, who had advanced, were left stranded as the ball bounced over their heads to a lurking Ismail Abu who managed to get a touch to the ball as it sped into the net.
The victory took the unbeaten Malaysians to seven points and won them a berth in the round of four, their first since 2000 in this tournament. Also, it was Malaysia's first win over Korea in 10 years.
The Koreans face elimination, as have three points and an unfinished game with Pakistan in hand. The Pakistanis are better placed on four points. The two will play out the remaining 43 minutes of their game that was abandoned last night due to power failure, tomorrow with the scores level a t 2-2.
The Koreans contributed to their own downfall as they matched their rivals in creating and missing scoring opportunities.
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