Pakistan edge Malaysia to go second in pool

Mohammad Irfan Jr’s 53rd minute goal helped Pakistan beat Malaysia 1-0 in their final pool match of the Hero Asian Champions Trophy at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on Thursday.
The game was a dress rehearsal for the teams ahead of their semifinal clash on Saturday. Pool toppers India will play Japan in the other semifinal.
Pakistan showed the inclination to attack initially with Ajaz Ahmad launching a couple of shots.
Malaysia also made some forays in the initial stages of the first quarter.
Faizal Saari and Firhan Ashaari being the usual suspects thrusting forward and firing towards the Pakistani goal.
In the 12th minute, Pakistani skipper Mohammad Rizwan Sr made a solo run down the left flank and threatened to score before hitting wide.
In the second quarter, Malaysia were visibly more proactive with their gameplans.
The Asian Games silver medallists were probing the Pakistani defence with their long balls and precision shots.
Meanwhile, Pakistan were plotting their own moves with Mohammad Irfan Jr and Aleem Bilal dodging the Malaysian defenders.
There was no clear domination from either side as both teams appeared scratchy and off the boil a bit.
In the 29th minute, Pakistan’s Ali Shan smashed a shot from the left wing that was wide off the far post.
The third quarter began with Malaysia advancing with some deft moves in the Pakistani area.
Malaysia’s Norsyafiq Sumantri came very close to scoring and opening the account for his team but his shot was parried by Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Butt.
Pakistan looked to counter-attack down the right flank and asked a question or two to the Malaysian defence.
Pakistan had a great opportunity to score in the 44th minute when skipper Mohd Rizwan Sr struck but failed to get the direction right.
In the early minutes of the fourth quarter, Pakistan were awarded a penalty corner, the first of the match, but failed to convert.
The crowd, mostly comprising Pakistani supporters, were creating some noise and egging the Pakistan team on.
Pakistan were creating chances but were unable to deliver the final punch, the case was the same with Malaysia.
Pakistan finally scored through Mohammad Irfan Jr in the 53rd minute, a simple tap-in.