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September 30, 2000
Australia take men's hockey bronze
The Rediff Team
Australia came up with an inspired display in the bronze medal men's hockey play-off match to hammer former champions Pakistan 6-3 at the State Hockey Centre on Saturday.
The tennis score victory reflects the vengeance with which the home side went into the match after being narrowly beaten by The Netherlands via the tie-breaker in the semi-finals.
The match was perhaps the best witnessed in the competition. It was fast, free-flowing hockey as both sides dished out superb hockey in the hope of salvaging some pride.
Australia got off to a whirlwind start. Straight from the push back, they laid seize on the Pakistan goal to force their first penalty-corner, after Jay Stacy and James Elmer had broken through. An unusual variation caught the Pakis on the wrong foot. From the top of the circle the ball was squared to the right, outside the circle, where Livermore despatched back across the circle to Stacy. The last named sold a dummy and let the ball travel to Troy Elder who slammed home in a jiffy. 1-0.
The Aussie supporters were on their feet but were silenced within minutes as Pakistan restored parity in a quick counter attack. Following a free-hit just outside the circle, Bashir Atif deflected home. 1-1.
Australia forced another penalty-corner. The variation almost gave them another goal but Stephen Davies hit wide.
Just five minutes gone and so much action. The Aussies were back in the thick of it in the 7th minute. This time from a field goal as Elder scored again, deflecting home a pass from Stacy. 2-1.
With both teams going on all-out attack, the ball swayed from goal to goal. Pakistan could have drawn level again but there was no one to tape home a good centre from Nadeem who ran down the left.
Australia came back strongly and James Elmer had the best of chances to get his name on the scoresheet, but blindly slammed over the crossbar from handshaking distance. Immediately after, Craig Victory had a shy at goal but goalkeeper Mohammad Alam, who it must be said had a great match, saving at least half a dozen sure goals, brought off a brilliant save.
With just eight minutes to go for the breather, it looked anyone's match as both teams maintained the hot pace. Then Australia forced a penalty-corner and Stephen Davis scored after Stacy's shot was deflected straight to him by the keeper. 3-1.
Australia went into half-time with a slight edge, having ten shots at goal for their three goals, while Pakistan had six. The Aussies also had three penalty-corners to none by the Pakistanis.
In the second half, Pakistan held early ascendancy. Mohammad Sarwar could have pulled one back for his team when in a one-on-one with goalkeeper Diletti. But he failed to beat the keeper, Diletti making a brave save.
The aggression paid off as Pakistan forced their second penalty-corner. This time Sohail Abbas was on target with a stiff shot. 3-2.
It still looked anybody's game. But then suddenly the Aussies came up with some quick play which saw James Elmer score a great goal. He received the ball, beat two defenders and put it between the goalkeeper's pads. 4-2.
From then all the Aussies were all over and Pakistan could do little to stop them.
Troy Elder got his third goal of the match, tapping in after the goalkeeper had deflected a Brennan effort. 5-2.
And just when it looked the slaughtering was over Michael Brennan ran into the circle and reversed flicked past the goalkeeper to make it a tennis score. 6-2.
With seconds ticking away, Pakistan pulled one back through Kashif Javad.
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