Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pakistan Thrash India to Reach Champions Hockey Final

Pakistan and India have had two sports encounters this year at major international events in cricket and field hockey. Pakistan have won on both occasions to go on to the the final or semifinal. In September this year, Pakistan beat India in the ICC T20 Champions Trophy group match in South Africa to qualify for the semifinal. And today, Pakistan beat India 6-3 in a Champions Challenge hockey tournament semifinal at Salta, Argentina. These wins are very welcome at a time when Pakistanis need their spirits lifted to deal with the extremely difficult situation at home.

Here's a Times of India report Pakistan-India field hockey encounter today:

SALTA (Argentina): Pakistan beat India 6-3 to set up a final against New Zealand in Champions Challenge hockey tournament on Saturday.

New Zealand held out two-time defending champion and host Argentina 3-2 to reach Sunday's final, where the winner will qualify for the Champions Trophy next July in Moenchengladbach, Germany.

Pakistan took only two minutes to score, through Rehan Butt, who would collect a hat trick in another classic match between the archrivals.

While two Pakistan players were cooling off on cards, India forced a penalty corner and leveled through Dhananjay Mahadik. India continued to enjoy the run of play, but Pakistan nailed its chances with Butt shooting home and Sohail Abbas adding a penalty corner goal for a 3-1 halftime lead.

After the break, India dominated, but its desperation to score left the defense vulnerable, and Haseem Khan's goal against the run of play made it 4-1. There were four goals in the last eight minutes, with Butt claiming his third and Abbas his second. Mahadik also finished with a pair for India.

As in the Pakistan-India semi-final, New Zealand scored quickly, with Andrew Hayward converting a penalty corner to hush the home crowd. Argentina's penalty corner specialist Pedro Ibarra claimed his sixth goal of the tournament to draw level, but just before halftime Phillip Burrows finished a counterattack to send New Zealand ahead into the break.

After Shea McAleese's penalty corner goal 10 minutes into the second half gave New Zealand 3-1, Argentina's attack ramped up but continued to be bottled by the New Zealand defense until four minutes from the end, when Lucas Vila's counterattack field goal gave the home side renewed hope, but without enough time.

Related Links:

Pakistan Beat India in South Africa

Kiwis Dash Pakistan's ICC Championship Hopes

Pakistan Crowned World T20 Champs

Pakistan's Aisamul Haq Beats Tennis Great Roger Federer

Pakistan's Daily Carnage


Riaz Haq said...

At the BDO Champions Challenge in Salta, New Zealand triumphed over Pakistan after an excellent Final (4-2), India won the bronze with a last minute goal over Argentina (3-2), South Africa convincingly beat China for 5th place (5-0) while Belgium edged Canada (2-0) for 7th place.

Game 20 – Final – New Zealand v. Pakistan: 4-2 (half-time: 2-2)

Statistics between the two teams before this final (compiled by B.G.Joshi, Bhopal, India):
Matches played: 43 - Pakistan won 34, New Zealand won 4 - 5 draws
Goals for Pakistan: 149 - Goals for New Zealand: 65
Biggest Wins for Pakistan: 12-3 in 1982 World Cup in Mumbai
Biggest Wins for New Zealand: 7-1 in 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games
Last played: 2009 Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh: New Zealand won 2-1

The much expected Final between New Zealand and Pakistan, the top two ranked teams in the competition, started immediately at high pace. New Zealand had to concede a penalty-corner in the 7th minute, and Sohail ABBAS scored it dutifully although Kyle PONTIFEX got a piece of the shot. New Zealand replied with a penalty-corner of their own, using an option with Ryan ARCHIBALD deflecting on the post.

The game was back to square one and the initial nerves shaken. New Zealand then scored a sumptuous goal by Phillip BURROWS diving full length to deflect a cross from the left, then read well the second penalty-corner for ABBAS. Pakistan could not penetrate the compact New Zealand defense and tried to use long passes but they seldom came close enough to be dangerous, let alone win the coveted penalty-corner for ABBAS to officiate. It is finally in the last minute of the period that Rehan BUTT pounced on a ball in the crowded circle and acrobatically managed to shoot it out of reach of PONTIFEX.

Second half started under hot summer sun finally arrived over Salta. New Zealand were consistently dangerous upfront by Simon CHILD, Phillip BURROWS and Ryan ARCHIBALD, circulating the ball with speed and accuracy. Their best chance was for Nicholas WILSON, deflecting the ball from close range on the crossbar, but the score did not evolve. Pakistan had three additional unsuccessful penalty-corners then New Zealand scored two goals in quick succession in the last five minutes, first by Steven EDWARDS then Phillip BURROWS, both at the conclusion of fast offensive moves that swept away the Pakistani defense.

Sohail ABBAS missed another penalty-corner and New Zealand could soon celebrate their first Champions Challenge victory with their traditional haka.

Anonymous said...

read the comments by Romesh Chander and the follow up. LOL.

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "read the comments by Romesh Chander and the follow up. LOL."

Your comment is clearly not relevant to the post, but I'll indulge you for just one comment.

In spite of the discrimination by some Indian hiring managers at Microsoft that is rightly pointed out by a white female commenter on the Wall Street Journal website, Microsoft has been and continues to hire in Pakistan, though the pace has considerably slowed since the financial crisis last year and imposition of new visa restrictions.