Arshad shines as Pakistan trounce New Zealand in FIH Junior World Cup

Arshad Liaqat scored a hat-trick as Pakistan beat New Zealand 4-0 in their second match of the ongoing Junior Hockey World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Liaqat scored in the 19th, 30th and 54th minute of the match to put the Green Shirts in a commanding position. Captain Abdul Hanan Shahid also got on the scoresheet for Pakistan with a goal from a penalty corner in the 32nd minute of the match. Pakistan, who are in Pool D, will play their final group match against Belgium on December 9. Top two teams from each group will qualify for the quarterfinals.

Yesterday, the Pakistan hockey team made an impressive comeback to register a 3-3 draw against the Netherlands in their opening match of the Junior World Cup. The Green Shirts were down 0-2 in the first half but Arshad Liaqat, Sufian Khan, and Arbaz Ahmed scored crucial goals to bring Pakistan back in the game.

Pakistan finished on the men’s Junior World Cup podium on each of the first five events played between 1979 and 1993, clinching gold at the inaugural event and claiming one silver and three bronze medals. Since then, two fifth place finishes in 1997 and 2009 have been their best performance. The finished 11th at the Bhubaneswar 2021 World Cup, which was an historic low for Pakistan. However, under the guidance of legendary Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans the team has turned a corner which was evident from the silver medal they secured at the Junior Asia Cup earlier this year.

A narrow 2-1 defeat at the hands of India was their only defeat of the competition, with Abdul Rehman scoring nine times to finish joint top scorer and Hannan Shahid bagging the award for player of the tournament. The team recently finished fourth at the Sultan of Johor Cup, with penalty corner specialist Arbaz Ahmad netting four times in the competition.

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