Pakistan down New Zealand in opening match


Pakistan held on to beat defending champions New Zealand, 4-3, in their opening match of the 2013 Azlan Shah Cup on Saturday.

Pakistan, who had secured the bronze medal in the 2012 Champions Trophy before winning the Asian Champions Trophy, raced to a 3-0 lead against sixth-ranked New Zealand.

However, the Kiwis pegged Pakistan back with three goals of their own.

With just 12 minutes remaining in the game, Muhammad Imran displayed some fantastic hockey off a penalty corner to score his third and Pakistan’s fourth goal of the match.

From then on Pakistan hung on to see out the match and grab  three points.

Earlier, the game suffered a delayed of 30 minutes due to wet weather conditions and began at 4:35pm local time.

New Zealand won last year’s trophy with a dominant display of attacking hockey.

Due to adverse weather conditions, the first match between Pakistan and New Zealand was delayed.

It was a wet start to the 22nd edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup as rain disrupted proceedings, forcing the organisors to move all games by 30 minutes.

And when play got underway. Pakistan edged defending champions New Zealand 4-3 in an exciting tie that saw New Zealand coming from three goals down to equalise but succumbed to a Muhammad Imran hattrick eventually.

Pakistan have dropped four veterans including Shakeel Abbasi, Mohammed Waseem, Mohammed Rizwan Senior and Rashid Mehmood in order to test new players.

Australia defeated India 4-3 in their opening match of the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.

The parking bays were full, and the Azlan Shah Stadium was reverberating with deafening sounds of vuvuzalas as the fans cheered Malaysia to start on the right footing.

The prayers were answered as two late goals by veteran Chua Boon Huat, playing in his 11th Azlan Shah Cup gave them a 3-2 win.