Scotland men fall short against Pakistan despite taking the lead

Scotland 1-3 Pakistan (Adams) / (Irfan Jr, Qadir, Bilal)

Scotland men took the lead against Pakistan but ended up losing 3-1 after some clinical finishing by their opposition in London. The result leaves Scotland at the foot of Pool B at the World League Semi-Finals, but a win in the next game against Canada could still see the Scots through to the quarter finals.

Pakistan came flying out the traps towards the Scotland goal and the Blue Sticks did a good job of soaking up the early pressure. The only real opportunity created in these early stages of pressure prompted a routine save by Tommy Alexander at his near post.

Scotland began to play their way into the game and applied some pressure of their own. The Scots probed the defence but Callum Duke’s pass for Alan Forsyth was cut out at the right of the D.

Then Pakistan broke and Ali Shan got ahead of Tim Atkins and sent a dangerous deflection goal ward, but it looped over the bar.

Scotland then took a well-earned lead. A great surging run by Lee Morton into the Pakistan D set-up the opportunity for Wei Adams who found the bottom right corner from the middle of the D. 1-0.

Pakistan battled to find an equaliser. Alexander was forced to produce a top save at the end of the first quarter, not for the first time in the tournament. It led to a penalty corner to Pakistan but the final effort fired just wide of the target.

Into the second quarter and Scotland went on the offensive. A penalty corner for Scotland saw Alan Forsyth smash it just past the post.

Pakistan then had the ball in the back of the Scotland net but it went to a video referral and resulted in a free hit out for Scotland. The ball hit a Pakistan foot in the process of scoring.

Scotland came incredibly close to scoring a second goal when Gavin Byers had a great chance to score. A superb reverse stick pass by Morton found Byers breaking into the D, but he put the ball over the bar and Pakistan survived.

The Scots continued to hunt for the second goal and a chance for Alan Forsyth was well saved by the keeper at the near post.

Into the second half and Scotland came so close to taking a two-goal lead when a great break forward by Bain saw his shot sail over the bar. Instantly, Pakistan tore forward, carved open the Scotland defence, and a superb finish was buried into the corner by Muhammad Irfan Jnr to make it 1-1.

A short while later Pakistan took the lead from a well-worked penalty corner routine. The ball was slid from the top of the D for Muhummad Arslan Qadir arriving from the right to score. Alexander had no chance in the goal for Scotland.

A penalty corner was awarded to Pakistan just after the restart for the final quarter and Aleem Muhammed Bilal buried it low against the backboard to make it 3-1 to Pakistan. A crushing blow for the Scots.

Scotland battled forward and some lovely skill by Morton prompted a foul and the award of a penalty corner for Scotland. Alan Forsyth battered the ball into the net but it was above the backboard, and although a video referral was called it was unclear as to whether the ball touched a stick on the way towards goal. The goal was not given and a free out was awarded to Pakistan.

With just under five mins to go Bain tried to find Alan Forsyth in the D, but the ball evaded him and Scotland’s hopes of a late resurgence waned in the searing heat of Lee Valley.

Scotland Head Coach Derek Forsyth said, “It’s very disappointing to have two good chances when we were 1-0 up and not take them. Taking these chances would have been a game changer and allowed us to pull ahead. It was also disappointing how we dealt with the corners that gave Pakistan two goals.

“There’s still an opportunity against Canada. We won’t dwell on the Pakistan result and we’ll prepare properly and look forward to the game against Canada and play for a fourth-place position.”

Photos: Perspective Photography

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