WAHC: Pakistan hand Brunei second loss

Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh

PAKISTAN handed Brunei their second defeat at the 3rd Women's Asian Hockey Challenge 2017 with a 4-0 victory today.

The scoreline did not reflect the closeness of the game as both teams matched evenly throughout the four quarters at the National Hockey Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.

Brunei (blue) and Pakistan (white) players in action during the 3rd Women's Asian Hockey Challenge 2017 earlier today. Picture: Yee Chun Leong

The home team went out determined to win to make up for their heavy 8-0 defeat against Hong Kong on Sunday by pressing high up early.

Pakistan were equally resolute, approaching the game with fast pace and they got their first real chance in the seventh minute through Hina Pervaiz but her effort from 15 metres out was denied by Brunei goalkeeper Fatimah Hj Usli.

The Stingers passed the ball well in the middle of the field but they lacked the cutting edge to pose a real threat to the opposition.

Azirah Muhammad Ismail gave Brunei their first attempt on target in the game when she was given plenty of space to fire a shot from the edge of the semi-circle area but her attempt was blocked by an in-form Pakistan goalkeeper Rushna Khan.

Hamra (C) scored three goals in a span of 12 minutes in the second quarter. Picture: Yee Chun Leong

Pakistan came out a different team in the second period and they broke the deadlock just four minutes after the restart through Hamra.

Hina made a brilliant turn down Brunei’s left flank before feeding an unmarked Hamra who had a simple task of rolling the ball home at the far post.

Brunei defenders were caught napping just two minutes later when captain Ambreen Arshad easily found an unmarked Hamra at the far corner beating the helpless Fatimah in goal.

Desperate to get back into the game, Brunei started pressing forward but they failed to penetrate Pakistan's backline and resorted to shoot from distance.

Nooramnani Salim went close for the home team but her effort from 20 metres out went just inches wide.

The national women's team were punished once again on the half hour mark by Hamra after failing to close down on the 17-year-old forward to score off a rebound following a penalty corner to complete a hat-trick in a span of 12 minutes.

Wardah Hj Me'raj (L) of Brunei in action against Pakistan. Picture: Yee Chun Leong

Brunei presented several chances in the third quarter to find the back of the net but could not connect in front of goal each time.

Siti Nur Azura Hj Muhammad Hamdan was fouled inside the Pakistan area to give Brunei their first penalty corner in the game but Nurul Syazwani Muhd Salleh sent her shot nowhere near the goal.

Nurul Syazwani was once again called into action to tap in Siti Nur Azura's low cross from the right but the midfielder was just milliseconds late from swinging the ball into the net.

The fourth quarter saw Pakistan make some changes to their line up as Brunei gradually conceded to defeat and they sealed their victory with their fourth goal through their captain Ambreen converting from the penalty spot.

The tournament continues today with the second round match between Brunei and Hong Kong at 4pm.

Pakistan captain Ambreen Arshad (L) scored from the penalty spot late on to complete the win against Brunei. Picture: Yee Chun Leong

Pakistan coach Muhammad Khan: “We are still behind the Hong Kong team as we are still not playing our game yet.

“Our team is still playing under 70% (of their potential). They are used to playing a good game in their country but maybe they are still trying to acclimatise to the weather.

“Brunei haven’t got as much exposure compared to us but they played well especially their defender on the right side.

“Normally we call her (Hamra) a thief with the way she moves on the pitch. She is the youngest on our team at 17 years old. She is a good player and we are hoping for the best.”

Brunei coach Fauzi Awang: “Pakistan are a stronger team but the girls did very well to challenge them till the end.

“I don’t know what happened in the second quarter but we came back after that and almost scored against them. We had like 4 chances and one penalty corner but wasted it.

“The team did very well and showed improvement from the last game. It will be a tough game against Hong Kong tomorrow hopefully we keep our focus and try our best to challenge them.

“We will try to deduce the deficit of goals and also do our best to achieve our target of scoring.”

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