LAHORE - Favourites Uzbekistan lived up to the expectations and won the FIH Haier Hockey series outplaying Kazakhstan with a firm 6-2 victory here on Saturday at the National Hockey Stadium.

In the last match of the 4-nation single league, the winners proved too good for their opponents and outclassed them in all departments of the game on a cold day with an easy win to their credit.

Both the teams had won their matches against the other two sides, Nepal and Afghanistan, in the competition. So this match was a virtual final. As Uzbekistan had a better goal difference, they only required a draw to lift the trophy.

Uzbekistan were easily the better side in the first quarter when they did everything other than scoring. A number of open play chances were squandered. In the early phase of the second quarter, surprisingly Kazakhstan went ahead.

They earned two penalty corners and went ahead via the second through Nurbol Kozhym in the 18th minute, the Uzbeks equalised through the same route as Khakimov converted a penalty corner.

Three minutes, before the change of the sides, Uzbekistan’s brilliant forward Karimov Ruslan made it 2-1 finishing a good combined move.Uzbekistan led 2-1 at the half time.

In the 36th minute, Ruslan scored one of the finest goals of this event. In a remarkable dribbling run, he eliminated three players before slotting it in. Within two minutes, it was 4-1 as on a beautiful Ruslan pass, Khaytboev applied a good finish.

Kazakhstan immediately reduced the margin. Their captain Daulet Urmanov in an exhilarating run covered almost half the pitch, going past a number of defenders. Well inside the opponent’s circle he sent a parallel ball which was put in by diving Tilek Uzbek.  Irresistible Ruslan created another goal. After a double 1-2 with Ruslan, Nazarov sent it past the Kazakh goal-keeper.

Kazakhstan had the best opportunity to make it 3-5 just before the end of the third quarter but Yermik Tashkeyev wasted the penalty stroke.

In the last quarter, off a penalty corner variation, Nazarov had his second and Uzbekistan’s sixth goal. Karimov Roslan of Uzbekistan was named man of the final.

Tayyab Ikram, CEO of Asian Hockey Federation was the chief guest on the occasion and put gold medals around the necks of the members of the winning Uzbekistan team. Also present were former President, Pakistan Hockey Federation, Akhtar Rasool and Secretary PHF, Shahbaz Ahmad.

Fair Play trophy was awarded to Afghanistan while Golib Kalandarov (Uzbekistan) was named player of the tournament, Yerassyl Ashkatov (Kazakhstan) best goal keeper:  Karimov Roslan of Uzbekistan remained the top goal scorer of the event.

Earlier, Pakistan President XI, the ‘Guest Team’ won its last friendly match defeating Afghanistan 11-0 .The hosts comprising young upcoming players easily won all the matches against the four visiting team.