Impressive Pakistan overcome Belgian resistance
MELBOURNE, Dec 2: Pakistan made amends for Saturday’s disappointing 3-1 loss to the Netherlands by overcoming Belgium 2-0 in their Pool ‘B’ match of the Champions Trophy on Sunday.
In the other Pool ‘B’ match, London Olympics silver medallists the Netherlands and Australia, who have won the last four Champions Trophy tournaments, played to a 0-0 draw.
Meanwhile, Pool ‘A’ saw England hammering Olympic gold medal winners Germany 4-1 while India recorded their second straight victory when they beat New Zealand 4-2.
Pakistan’s Abdul Haseem Khan scored in the 56th minute after a goalless first-half and Shafqat Rasool added a goal into an empty net in the final minute to put the result beyond doubt.
“Yesterday we actually played good hockey but we missed our chances. Today we missed some chances but we managed to score as well, so this is very good experience for our young players,” Shakeel Abbasi said.
The result leaves the Belgians as the only winless team in Pool ‘B’ while Pakistan still have a chance to finish on top of the pool.
The draw between Australia and the Netherlands was only the eighth scoreless draw in the 34-year history of the tournament and it left
both teams with a win and a draw in its first two matches.
Dutch goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann was the star, producing an array of strong saves in a top-quality match between the two highest-ranked teams in the pool at the tournament.
Stockmann said despite his brilliant game he was disappointed his team didn’t come away with the win.
“Zero goals against is always the goal for a goalkeeper, but it is a team performance and we didn’t win so that is disappointing,” he said.
Adam Dixon and Harry Martin scored early first-half goals four minutes apart as England took a 2-0 lead against the Germans as early as the 10th minute.
Things improved slightly when Germany pulled one back four minutes later through an own goal, but England regained their two-goal buffer with an own goal two minutes before half time and rounded it off with a fourth goal to Darren Cheesman.
“You have never seen a bad German team. Whatever tournament they go to however experimental it is they are a good team,” England captain Barry Middleton said.
India are in the box seat to finish on top of Pool ‘A’ after defeating New Zealand and will do so if they defeat Germany in their final pool match on Tuesday.
After conceding the opening goal from a costly turn over, India dominated the remainder of the first half to take a 3-1 half-time lead.
New Zealand hit back early in the second half with a brilliant goal to Nicholas Wilson, however a goal to Danish Mujtaba in the dying minutes ensured India remained undefeated.
In Tuesday’s final pool games, New Zealand take on England, Belgium play Netherlands, Germany meet India and Australia face up to Pakistan.
England 4 Germany 1
India 4 New Zealand 2
Pakistan 2 Belgium 0
Australia 0 Netherlands 0—Agencies