BHUBANESWAR, India – Dominant scoring in the final three quarters propelled Pakistan over the U.S. U-21 Men’s National Team in the placement game at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup. At the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, India, Pakistan held a one goal lead after the first quarter but added six more in the second, seven in the third and four in the fourth as USA fell 18-2.
"We want the team to keep fighting, encouraging them to focus on the next moment," said Pat Harris, U-21 USMNT Head Coach. "To stay positive and connected to each other."
The first quarter saw action on both ends, although Pakistan produced more opportunities. Just two minutes in, a close chance came for Pakistan when a long ball into the circle, hit a USA foot in route and as some stopped playing, a forward off the far post dove and got a touch on it but the attempt went over the end line. USA’s lone shot in the frame came when Finlay Quaile (Castle Cary, U.K.) broke into the attacking end and the play finished when Jatin Sharma’s (South San Francisco, Calif.) reverse sweep was saved by Pakistan goalkeeper Abdullah Ishtiaq. It looked as though the quarter would finish scoreless, but Pakistan capitalized when USA didn’t reset quickly after a green card was issued to Henzor Motta (San Juan, Puerto Rico). USA goalkeeper Shomik Chakraborty (Washington, D.C.) made the initial save but Abuzar put in the rebound to make it 1-0.
Pakistan opened up the scoring in the second quarter, tallying six goals within 8 minutes. After Chakraborty was tested twice, and denied both attempts, Pakistan earned a penalty corner in the 20th minute. The first chance resulted in a re-award and off the second, Ali Rizwan scored on a straight drag to double their lead. Three minutes later, Pakistan capitalized again when Sattar Umair scored at close range. Seconds following, they added another when unselfish play led to Hassan Mohsin passing off the far post to Rooman Khan. Both within the 27th minute, Abdul Rehman and Abdul Rana each scored on straight penalty corner drags. A minute later Abuzar collected his second of the game after jumping on a rebound off USA goalkeeper Phil Scofield’s (Moorpark, Calif.) pads. A fighting USA never gave up and earned a penalty corner in the final 60 seconds. Off the chance, Quaile converted to get the red, white on the blue on the board, 7-1.
In the third quarter, Pakistan continued their dominant scoring adding another seven. In the 33rd minute off a penalty corner, Schofield made the initial stop that took his glove off, but Rana pounced on the rebound. He scored again two minutes later, and Pakistan capitalized off a mishandled ball out of the back through Shakeel Moin. Abdul Manan added his name to the scoresheet on a one-time sweep in the 37th minute and two minutes following, Mohsin cleaned up a rebound. In the 41st minute, USA earned a penalty corner and Quaile tallied his second of the game on another straight drag. Before the quarter closed, Pakistan added two more field goals through Ali Ghazanfar and Moshin.
After an early Pakistan goal in the 46th minute to start the final frame, USA edged their way up field and maintained more possession than in previous quarters. The attack was short lived as Pakistan got back on the front foot extending their lead by another three goals from Rana, Muhammad Hammadudin and Abuzar for the final score of 18-2.
"In the first quarter, we all thought we played pretty well but we need to find a way to keep it consistent throughout four quarters," said Sharma, U-21 USMNT Captain, following the game. "We all get tired but we have to keep working for each other. Defensively we get a little too ball focused when the ball is in our circle, so we have to stay with our man and mark competitively."
USA moves on to the 13th-16th placement games, playing Canada on Thursday, December 2 at 12:00 a.m. ET.
For more information regarding the 2021 FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup, visit the event page.