KARACHI: Pakistan are hoping that Sunday's 3-2 triumph over India will serve them as a much-needed tonic during the rest of their Asia Cup campaign in Kuantan, Malaysia.
Facing possible elimination, Pakistan clicked when it mattered most to edge out India in an action-packed encounter and now their coach is hoping that his charges will maintain the golden form in Thursday's semifinals.
"It was the sort of win that can work wonders for your confidence," Shahid Ali Khan, Pakistan's coach, told 'The News' from Kuantan. "We haven't been playing badly in the past but our results were quite. I hope that today's victory will change all that," he added.
Pakistan crashed to a dismal fourth position in the five-nation Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia last month and opened their Asia Cup campaign on Saturday with an uni9mpressive 1-1 draw against China.
But they seemed to be a different side against in-form India - the defending champions - and Shahid stressed that it was all because they played like a disciplined unit.
"We've finally found the one ingredient that's been missing for a while," he said. "The boys played like a well-oiled unit and followed the game plan properly. All credit of this win should go to them," said the former Olympian.
Shahid pointed out that the match was played in really tough conditions but his boys were in top gear in the tough encounter against the defending champions.
"It had rained for almost an hour today and the pitch was really very heavy," he said. "Things were really tough because of the heat and the fact that India played very aggressively but my boys were better."
Shahid, who took over as Pakistan coach this February, was all praise for young striker Abdul Haseem Khan, who scored twice against India. "Haseem was brilliant today. We selected him in the Asia Cup because he is a genuine centre-forward and I'm really happy we took that decision."
Haseem is the national Under-21 captain and is supposed to lead Pakistan's campaign in next month's Junior World Cup to be played in Malaysia and Singapore.
After having played back-to-back games against China and India, Pakistan will have a well-deserved break till May 14 when the semifinals of the seven-nation event will take place.
Shahid said that the team management has decided against having any rest days and will carry out extensive practice sessions ahead of the last-four clash.
"We have booked the pitch for all the three days because there is still a lot of room for improvement," he said. "Our target now is to secure a place in the final but the boys will have to give their best in our next match."
Pakistan have a few minor injuries with young midfielder Muhammad Irfan, who is a vital player because of his role as a 'dasher' in penalty corner defense, suffering from an ankle injury.
But Shahid is confident that his players, who have played two tough games in a row, will rejuvenate during the three-day break.