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‘Pakistan still have a very good chance to reach semis’

December 04, 2012

pakistan hockey, champions trophy

KARACHI: Thanks to new playing rules, Pakistan still have a chance despite losing 0-1 to hosts Australia in their third Champions Trophy match in Melbourne on Tuesday, observed Olympian Islahuddin Siddiqui.

Speaking to Dawn, the former captain and coach went on to explain that after the completion of the league rounds, all the eight teams will be playing quarter-finals.

“The top team in pool ‘A’ will play the first quarter-final with the bottom team in pool ‘B’ just like pool ‘B’ third team, who are Pakistan, will be taking on pool ‘A’ second team Germany in their quarter-final match. The other four teams will also cross the same way and the four winners in this dropout round will play the semi-finals,” he explained.

“So Pakistan again have a very good chance to reach the semi-finals because six of Germany’s players happen to be Champions Trophy debutants while the remaining six are also not that experienced,” he pointed out.

“In contrast to Germany’s junior team, Pakistan’s have senior players who have been playing with each other for five to 10 years. That is why I had also said earlier that we should beat Australia as well as they comprise a mixture of old and new players,” Islah added.

About Tuesday’s game, Islah observed that the Green Shirts played well in the first half. “But the second half saw them being dominated by the Aussies. We got one penalty-corner but made a major blunder when we failed to even stop the ball then,” he remarked.

Australia on their part got two penalty-corners, one of which they also converted.

“We were lacking in physical fitness in the second half. Ball possession, too, was 61 per cent with Australia and 39 per cent with Pakistan. So even though they won it was from a low margin for Australia who play open hockey which is not very defensive. But we didn’t benefit from this and went for playing defensively in the second half.

“It was a mistake on our defender’s part which got our opponents a penalty-corner which converted into a goal in the 51st minute. The Green Shirts have to be more careful with their defence in the coming match,” he warned.