Kuala Lumpur: Pakistan toyed with China to score a thumping 7-1 win and romp into the semi-finals of the sixth Asia Cup hockey tournament on Monday.
Captain Nadeem Ahmed, defender Sohail Abbas and Kashif Jawad scored two goals apiece as Pakistan issued a loud warning to bitter rivals India.
India, who beat China 5-1 on Sunday, play Pakistan in their last league encounter on Wednesday. Monday’s result means India will have to defeat Bangladesh in their next league match by a big margin, should goal difference is taken into account to identify the group toppers.
Three-time winners Pakistan played near perfect hockey, displaying excellent ball possession, tackles and deft passes to demolish China. The most impressive was Sohail who combined skill and power to score two exquisite goals in the second half.
China did well to thwart the marauding Pakistan in the first 15 minutes but thereafter found it difficult to contain their skilful forwards. Pakistan earned their first penalty corner in the tenth but Sohail was off the mark.
The Champions Trophy bronze medallists opened account in the 18th minute when Mohammed Saqlain took a free hit and Salim Khalid directed the ball into the net. They scored two more in the first half.
First it was captain Nadeem who gently tapped the ball in following a goalmouth melee in the 26th minute. Kashif pumped in another two minutes later. (PTI)