LAHORE - Pakistan started their must-win campaign to earn a spot for the 2014 World Cup with a thumping 7-0 victory over Japan while hosts Malaysia demolished debutant Chinese Taipei 10-2 in their respective pool A matches on the opening day of the ninth Asia Cup Hockey Tournament in Ipoh, Malaysia at on Saturday.

According to information made available here, in the first pool A encounter, Pakistan started on a bright note and raced to a 6-0 lead in the first half before the Japanese came up with a spirited effort in the second period to concede just one goal.

M Imran’s soldiers men, who must win the title to earn a berth at next year’s World Cup in the Netherlands, started in emphatic fashion through M Waqas’ double in the 11th and 20th minute of the match. Abdul Haseem Khan then got on the board in the 22nd before M Tousiq’s brace and another by Imran gave the green shirts a commanding 6-0 lead going into half-time.

But it was completely different scenario after the break as Pakistan found it extremely difficult to breach the Japanese defence, which seemed to have learnt from its mistakes. After toiling hard for the entire second half, Pakistan managed to score another goal at the stroke of the hooter through their skipper Imran who converted a penalty corner. Pakistan’s dominance can be gauged from the fact that they scored five of their goals from penalty corners while the other two came through field efforts.

Meanwhile, in the second Pool A match of the day which witnessed high-scoring encounters, Malaysia was in for a rude shock early in the game when Chinese Taipei took the lead against the run of the mill through Liu Ching Kun (5th minute).

Stunned by the early goal, the Malaysians regrouped themselves quickly and did not give any more easy inroads to Chinese Taipei. The home team scored goals at will thereafter to rule out the possibility of an upset. Malaysia scored five goals in each through Faizal Sari (10th minute, 13th, 69th), Ashaari M Firhan (18th, 69th), Abdul Jalil Tengku Ahmad Tajudin (23rd), Mohd Jalil M Marhan (32nd), Ahmad Tajuddin Izwan Firdaus (39th), Mohd Noor Nabil Fiqri (45th) and Sari Mohd Fitri (62nd).

Earlier, in the first match of the day, India crushed minnows Oman 8-0. Young striker Mandeep Singh netted a hat-trick in his team’s 8-0 to win. The Indian team indulged in goal fest as they scored four apiece on either side of the break. For the winners, Mandeep (4th minute, 40th, 44th) struck thrice, while Ramandeep (17th), VR Raghunath (28th), Rupinderpal Singh (34th), Malak Singh (47th) and SK Uthappa (69th) sounded the board once. Chinese Taipei’s second goal came in the 46th minute from the stick of Tseng Hsien-Yi.

TODAY’S FIXTURES:

South Korea vs Bangladesh at 01:05pm

Japan vs Chinese-Taipei at 03:05pm

Pakistan vs Malaysia at 05:05pm