From Sorts Correspondent
LAHORE: Kazakhstan and Pakistan President XI won their respective matches in Haier Hockey Series Open here at the National Hockey Stadium. Brilliant Yermek Tashkeyev scored four as the favourites Kazakhstan defeated Nepal 6-0. The Nepalese began well and the first quarter was more or less evenly played.
Nepal had a penalty corner. However, in the last minute Kazakhstan went ahead when Yermek Tashkeyev standing unmarked in the mid circle’s left availed a pass from right with a beautiful flick. The second quarter saw Kazakhstan dominating the proceedings. They regularly entered the rival’s circle, couldn’t make out of the field chances but availed the two set pieces. Nurbol Kozhym’s low push off a penalty corner found the right corner of the goal.
Then Yermek Tashkeyev made it 3-0 off a penalty stroke resulting from a rash tackle inside the circle.
The script remained the same in the second half with Kazakhstan having an upper hand. They had three more penalty corners but all the three goals in this half arrived via field attempts. In the 39th minute Tilek Uzbek first timed a long ball into the circle leaving the Nepalese defence bewildered. In the 53rd and 59th minutes, Yermek Tashkeyev twice rattled the top net with ferocious reverse- hander.
Nepal had their moments in the match but failed to avail two penalty corners and some open play chances.
Nepalese goal keeper Kishore Ojha, who had a good match, received the Man of Match award. The second match of the day was the friendly fixture between Pakistan President XI and Uzbekistan which the hosts won 4-0.
Pakistan began aggressively, repeatedly storming the Uzbek goal. After wasting two open play chances and the same number of penalty corners, they deservedly went ahead.
Murtaza Yaqoob, grandson of late Afzal Manna, Olympic silver medalist 1964, after receiving a long ball, applied a superb top of circle finish with a flat reverse angular shot. The score was doubled before the end of the first quarter after Captain Owaisur Rehman dived full length to beat the goal keeper. In the second and the third quarter, despite having more of play, the President XI couldn’t make the chances count and it remained 2-0 when the last 15 minutes started.
However, in the fourth quarter, they were able to add two more goals. First, Zaheer Hussain’s reverse grounder sounded the board and then Samiullah converted his team’s fifth and the last penalty corner with a high flick into the net.