WAHC: Brunei put up brave fight but end campaign without victory

Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh

BRUNEI closed their campaign at the 3rd Women's Asian Hockey Challenge 2017 with a 4-0 defeat to Pakistan at the National Hockey Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas today.

The Stingers, without a doubt produced their best performance in the competition, as they matched the Pakistan side equally in every department but they were unlucky not to convert several goal-scoring chances in the game.

The national women's team started the game brightly, determined to salvage some pride in the three-team competition, with Rizwana Yasmeen called into action early on.

Baizura Hj Ifno (R) of Brunei defends HIna Pervaiz during their 3rd Women's Asian Hockey Challenge match today. Picture: Yee Chun Leong

The Pakistan goalkeeper had to come off her line to intercept Azirah Muhammad Ismail’s diagonal cross into the penalty area, which was meant for Siti Azura Muhammad Hamdan.

Hamra replied for Pakistan just a minute later with a solo effort down the right flank, but sent her shot wide after being closed down by Brunei defenders.

Brunei were more compact in the middle of the field and made it harder for Pakistan to mount any real threat.

Rizwana was forced into action once again to save Nooramnani Salim’s powerful shot from 15 metres out.

Pakistan raised their game in the second period but Brunei defended very well with goalkeeper Fatimah Hj Usli denying captain Ambreen Arshad and Hamra inside the penalty area.

Nurul Syazwani Muhd Salleh (R) of Brunei in action against Pakistan. Picture: Yee Chun Leong

Brunei captain Rokiah Kesut made a brilliant run down Pakistan’s left flank before forcing a foul to give Brunei their first penalty corner of the game.

Nooramnani stepped up and slammed in a thunderous shot for Azirah to deflect into the net but Rizwana stood strong in front of the goal to deny Brunei their first goal in the competition.

Shahzadi Kalsoom created a havoc down Brunei’s right side skipping past a couple of defenders before feeding the ball to Ambreen at the far post to break the deadlock two minutes from halftime.

Pakistan pressed up higher the pitch after the restart with Hina Pervaiz coming close to scoring but fired just wide after being set free by Hamra from the middle.

Mayira Sabir sent goalkeeper Fatimah the other way with her clever shot moments later but Nor Assikin Abdul Salim came to the rescue clearing the ball off the line in the 40th minute.

Pakistan eventually doubled their lead just two minutes later with Hina delivering a perfect cross for Shahzadi, who had a simple task of tapping the ball into the net.

Brunei continued to work hard in the last period in search of their first goal in the tournament and the closest they came was when Rokiah combined with Siti Naziatul Sufri near the post but the latter's shot went straight into Rizwana's Shin.

Hamra (L) of Pakistan goes at the Brunei defence. Picture: Yee Chun Leong

Pakistan were passing the ball in the midfield area planning out their attack instead of rushing forward and their strategy paid off as they found entry inside the penalty area to fire home via their captain Ambreen in the 52nd minute.

Sehrish completed the rout a minute before time scoring at the far post for their second win of the competition.

The final will be contested tomorrow with Pakistan, who will be in action for their third straight day, against Hong Kong at 8pm.

Picture: Yee Chun Leong

Brunei captain Rokiah Kesut: “Today I think was the best performance from our team.

“We were very energetic today. We all know that we don’t have the chance to make it to the final unless we beat Pakistan (by a huge margin).

“We did our best to win at all costs, but nevertheless I am happy with our performance today.

“I can say that we are still not up to standard but we will continue to train and work harder.”

Pakistan coach Muhammad Khan: “It was just another game (for us) today because we are already through to the finals,

"We lost two players to injuries today, so we are not sure they will be able to make it to the final against Hong Kong.”

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