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Pakistan edge past South Africa in thriller

August 05, 2012


Pakistan's Abdul Haseem Khan (3th L) celebrates scoring a goal against South Africa with teammates. -Photo by Reuters

KARACHI: Pakistan beat South Africa 5-4 in an exciting encounter on Sunday at the men's hockey tournament at the London Olympics. 

Two goals from Abdul Haseem Khan, one each from Shafqat Rasool and Waseem Ahmed plus a penalty corner from captain Sohail Abbas helped the Greenshirts bounce back  at the Riverbank Arena in London after the 4-1 thrashing at the hands of hosts Great Britain in their previous match.

South Africa opened the scoring early through Thornton McDade in the first minute after which Pakistan missed several chances to equalise but finally broke through the South African defense in the 19th minute as Khan netted the equaliser.

However, Justin Reid-Ross put South Africa ahead again in the 21st minute after scoring from a penalty corner. Pakistan did not have to wait long for another equaliser as Rasool scored in the 22nd minute. Just two minutes later, Pakistan were ahead after Khan scored his second goal but they could not hold on to the lead as Reid-Ross scored South Africa's third goal from a penalty corner just before half-time.

Wade Panton put South Africa ahead in the second half when he scored in the 37th minute but again Pakistan pulled level through a penalty corner in the 63rd minute as Abbas scored his 348th goal. Ahmed scored the winning goal for Pakistan in the 66th minute.

“If our strikers play well, we're in the game. The forwards seized the chances,” said Akhtar Rasool, chief coach of the Pakistan team.

Previously, Pakistan held Spain to a 1-1 draw in their opening match followed by a win against Argentina and a loss against Great Britain.

Australia leads the Olympic men's hockey pool A with 7 points. Britain is currently second with 7 points and Pakistan is third with 7 points after the most recent match.

Pakistan play their next match against Australia on Tuesday, August 7.