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Pakistan complete China clean-sweep

Pakistan on Sunday completed a clean sweep of China in their four-match series, the first international hockey event in the troubled country since 2004.

Pakistan won the final match 2-1 to emerge unbeaten in the series after taking the first three games in Karachi and Faisalabad earlier this week by 3-0, 5-3 and 3-1.

Pakistan gained the early lead when Vice-captain Shakeel Abbasi made a field goal in the first major attack of the match.

Fareed Ahmed drew the second in the 26th minute to double the lead, while China's lone goal came in the 33rd minute when Dong Yang dodged Pakistan's defence in the final moments of the first half.

"The Chinese played a much improved game today. They kept us tight," said Pakistan captain Muhammad Imran.

"We had a clear edge on them in the first two matches but they had a good come back in the last two," he added.

Pakistan, however, gifted the series trophy to their rivals to acknowledge their support for the violence-hit country.

A campaign of Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked attacks across Pakistan, including an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009, made Pakistan a virtual "no go" zone for international sport.

"China lost the hockey series but won the friendship series by coming to Pakistan. So, we will give this trophy to them," Asif Bajwa, the secretary of Pakistan Hockey Federation, said at the awards ceremony.

"They have proved that there is no security threat to any foreign team in Pakistan and sport is fully protected over here," he said.

Pakistan, which last hosted an international major hockey event seven years ago, hopes the Chinese tour will help convince other foreign teams to visit.

The country is also working to resume a bilateral hockey series with arch-rivals India, after they were suspended following the Mumbai attacks in 2008.

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