Karachi: Pakistan plays South Korea in their second match of the second round (super four) of the 10th Hockey Asia Cup at Dhaka’s Maulana Bhashani Stadium today (Thursday).
As far as the Asia Cup goes, Pakistan has an excellent record against their other two second round opponents, India and Malaysia, but not against South Korea.
Of their seven meetings in the Asia Cup, Korea has won four while Pakistan emerged victorious only twice. The 1989 semifinal had ended in a 3-3 in the stipulated time, Pakistan prevailed vie penalty stroke shootout. For the record purpose, the match goes down as a draw.
Korea, the two time defending champions, have lifted the Asia Cup a record four times. Pakistan stands second with three wins.
In their first Asia Cup meeting, the second edition in 1985, Pakistan had annihilated Korea 7-0. But since then, it is mostly Korea who has inflicted misery on the green-shirts.
Pakistan lost to South Korea 0-4 in the semi-final of the 1993 Asia Cup (4th edition) in Hiroshima. For Pakistan, it was no less than a calamity as they achieved many dubious firsts.
It was Pakistan?s first-ever defeat in Asia Cup (after 24 matches). They failed to finish in the top two for the first time. Pakistan lost to an Asian country by a margin exceeding three goals for the first time.
In 1999 (fifth edition), Pakistan overcame Korea 1-0 in the pool. The two sides met again in the final. Pakistan had the Cup well within their grasp as they led 4-2 in the second half. But the Koreans in a remarkable recovery not only equalised but also gained the title by netting three quick goals to win the final 5-4.
In 2009 (eighth edition), the final between Pakistan and Korea was goalless until the 66th minute when Kim Byung Hoon converted a penalty corner to enable Korea to lift the Cup for the third time.
After their defeat against Malaysia in the first match of the super four, Pakistan need a win against the Koreans to keep their hopes of getting into the final alive.
South Korea has made a better start in the super four by playing a 1-1 draw against the favorites India.
The Koreans must be the hungriest of all the four sides in the second round. Pakistan, India and Malaysia have already qualified for the 2018 World Cup. For South Korea, the only route left is to win the Asia Cup in Dhaka.—PPI