IPOH, Malaysia: Asian champion Pakistan came from behind to destroy rival and joint-holder India 3-1 with a masterly second-half performance Wednesday in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
Earlier, World Champion Australia proved it is the team to beat with a well-crafted 4-2 victory over South Korea, which claimed the title last year with India when the final was washed out.
The Indians were the better side in the first-half and deservedly took a 1-0 lead before Pakistan found their rhythm in the second period to score three goals and collect full points.
A resurgent Pakistan now has nine points and is third in the table behind leader Australia (10 points) and Britain (9).
India gained an initial advantage through a Rupinderpal Singh penalty corner in the 22nd minute. He is the current top scorer in Malaysia with six goals, all from penalty corners. But Pakistan roared back thanks to Muhammad Zubair in the 49th minute, and then Muhammad Imran netted the second off a penalty corner in the 55th minute to put his side ahead. Sohail Abbas sealed an emotional victory against the old rival two minutes later.
Meanwhile, New Zealand recorded a 3-2 win over Malaysia to give the Kiwis their first victory at the tournament. The win puts New Zealand on four points and coach Shane McLeod said he hoped it would give his side vital impetus for tough games against India and old rival Australia.
Australian coach Ric Charlesworth said his team’s performance was still rusty despite the win over South Korea. Australia meets Britain Thursday for a mouthwatering top-of-the-table showdown.
The Australians dominated the first-half, taking a 3-1 lead.
Timothy Deavin scored just after eight minutes from a field effort, followed by Mark Paterson in the 12th minute and Glenn Turner in the 34th minute.
The Koreans, who still sit on four points after four matches, reduced the deficit in the 15th minute through You Hyo-sik but rarely raised their game in the first-half.
In the second, they pulled a goal back in the 39th minute through Hyun Hya-sung, also from a field attempt.
But despite the Koreans pushing hard for the equalizer, the Australians slotted another goal in the 63rd minute through Paterson for a convincing win.
– Agence France-Presse