LAHORE  -   Uzbekistan routed Nepal 6-1 in the only match on the fourth day of the Haier FIH Hockey Series Open here at the National Hockey Stadium on Thursday.

Although, the scoreline indicates a one-sided encounter, the Nepalese were very much in the game when the third quarter ended, trailing only 1-2. The more experienced Uzbek side scored four in the last 10 minutes to make it a tennis score. The margin of their win also helped Uzbekistan go ahead of Kazakhstan in terms of goal difference which could decide the winner of this event, if the match between these two sides tomorrow (Saturday) ends in a draw.

The Uzbeks dominated the first half but could make only one of the many chances, both open play and penalty corners, count. Khakimov converted a penalty corner with a good flick. They added one more in the third quarter, an open play goal by Khaytboev in the 36th minute. Having been outplayed till then, the Nepalese boys looked a different side during the last nine minutes of this quarter.

With fast passing game they entered the rival circle quite a few times. One of the raids resulted in a penalty stroke in the 41st minute. Roman Rana’s push had been anticipated by goal keeper Uzakov but the ball scrambled over the goal line off his arm. It was 2-1, and all to play for in the last quarter. However, Uzbekistan completely controlled the proceedings. Ruslan Karimov, later named man of match, scored two open play goals while captain Kalandarov and Sultanov availed penalty corners.

Today (Friday), two matches will be played as Nepal will take on Afghanistan in the first encounter of the day while Pakistan President XI will vie against Kazakhstan in the second match of the day.