Ipoh, Malaysia:The Pakistan vs Korea Group B match in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament came to a dramatic halt eight minutes from half-time on Monday night following a power shutdown that left the stadium in darkness.
The teams were tied 2-2 at the time of the stoppage after Tariq Aziz (4th) and Imran Muhammad (13th) scored for Pakistan and Kang Moon Kweon (9th) and Jeong Yun Sang (24th) for Korea.
Though power was restored after nearly 30 minutes, two of the four floodlight towers were not functioning to capacity. As such, it was decided to call off the match.
The tournament committee is scheduled to meet later on Monday night to take a decision on the fate of the match.
The match had all the promises of cracker with both teams evenly matched. In the 27 minutes of play possible, there was little to separate the two. While the Pakistanis delighted the
crowd with some brilliant individual runs, the Koreans excelled with their precision passing and stunning counter-attacks.
However, with darkness descending on the stadium, the spectators were robbed of an exciting finish.
Tournament Director Ian Faulkner said, "We will be meeting later tonight to decide whether the match can be replayed at all since both the teams are scheduled to play their final league matches tomorrow (Tuesday)."
When asked whether the light was offered to the teams, Faulkner said, "We all had a discussion involving the team managers and it was agreed that the light did not meet minimum
standards required to play an international match."
He clarified that the decision to replay the match in its entirety or continue from where it was abandoned would hinge on availability of time slot.
"In case we are not able to find a suitable slot for this match, then the next decision is how to record the score. In my experience, I have not been in similar situation," he said.
Last year, at the women's World Cup in Madrid, the Australia vs Spain semi-final match was halted due to a blackout late in the second-half, but it was subsequently resumed and completed after a 45-minute hold-up.
Monday's incident came as an embarrassment for the organisers especially since Sultan Azlan Shah himself was among the spectators.
According to the local electricity board officials, the blackout was due to "internal problem" in the stadium premises and assured that it would soon be rectified so that all the
four floodlight towers would function to capacity.