asian games 2010, 2010 asian games, asian games hockey, pakistan hockey

Muhammad Zubair (L) of Pakistan passes the ball against Bangladesh during the men's preliminary group B field hockey game at the Aoti hockey field in Guangzhou. -Photo by AFP

GUANGZHOU: Defending champions South Korea and Pakistan cruised into the semi-finals of the Asian Games men’s field hockey with emphatic wins on Sunday.

Pakistan bounced back after the 3-2 loss to India a day earlier to outclass Bangladesh 6-1, while the Koreans whipped Singapore 12-1 in their last league matches.

India, who overcame a fighting Japan 3-2, topped group B with four straight wins and will play either Malaysia and China in Tuesday’s second semi-final.

Malaysia need a draw against the hosts later on Sunday to qualify as the second team from group A behind South Korea.

Pakistan face the Koreans in the first semi-final, also scheduled for Tuesday.

Veterans Shakeel Abbasi and Sohail Abbas fashioned Pakistan’s win over Bangladesh with two goals apiece, while Muhammad Imran also pumped in two penalty corners.

Abbasi put Pakistan ahead in the 13th mninute with a brilliant reverse flick and Abbas increased the margin two minutes later with a stinging penalty corner.

Abbasi scored the third goal in the 27th with a superb run down the middle when he dribbled past three defenders and beat the advancing goalkeeper.

Abbas, who failed to score off the lone penalty corner his side earned against India, struck his second set-piece goal as Pakistan took a 4-0 lead by half-time.

Muhammad Imran converted two penalty corners in the second half, before Bangladesh earned a consolation goal through Taposh Barmon seven minutes before the final whistle.

“We took this match as if we were playing the final, because we must continue to win if we are to reach and win the final,” said the 35-year-old Abbas.

“Penalty corners are the most important part of modern hockey. Yesterday, India scored two of them while we missed and lost the game. That turned the game around.”

The Koreans went on a rampage against Singapore, scoring five goals in the first half and another seven after resumption.

Seo Jong-ho and Nam Huyn-woo slammed hat-tricks, while Jang Jong-hyun found the target with two penalty corners.

You Hyo-sik, Kim Young-jin, Yeo Woon-kon and Yoon Sung-hoon were the other scorers for South Korea, even as Mohammad Yuhari narrowed the scoreline for Singapore.

Singapore bowed out of the competition with four successive defeats, while Bangladesh had one win and three defeats.

India, already assured of a place in the semi-finals, were stung by a 21st minute goal from Japan’s Hiroki Sakamoto.

Captain Rajpal Singh and penalty corner ace Sandeep Singh hit back for India on either side of the break, before Sandeep scored his second goal in the 62nd minute.

Sakamoto made it 2-3 seven minutes before the final whistle, but Japan failed to draw level. -AFP