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Sohail Abbas clips Kiwi wings
December 05, 2004 19:09 IST
Pakistan romped home to a 3-1 win over New Zealand to record their second straight win in the Champions trophy hockey tournament in Lahore on Sunday.
The home side scored all their goals in a span of six minutes after New Zealand, coming up with yet another determined effort, had taken the lead four minutes into the second half.
The win took Pakistan's points tally to six from two games while New Zealand are yet to open their account. The hosts had beaten Germany on Saturday while the Kiwis lost to Holland.
Yet, it was no cake walk for Pakistan, who started as the favourites on Sunday.
After Wayne McIndoe gave New Zealand the lead in the 39th minute, Pakistan equalised through Shakeel Abbasi in the 49th minute before Sohail Abbas showed his class with two penalty corner conversions (53th and 55th) to take the match away from their rivals.
Pakistan were obviously the better side for most part of the match but still they were given a tough time in the field by their opponents who, despite not having won points so far, proved that they deserved their place in the elite competition. Pakistan had the upper hand in the first half but their opponents denied them any advantage by defending stoutly.
In between New Zealand also came out with some good moves but were found wanting in finishing skills.
New Zealand were content with a 0-0 scoreline and it was evident from their game as they slowed down play a bit and hold onto the ball for long time.
Pakistan came under some pressure when McIndoe scored with a flat, relatively slow hit to the center of the goal that got past everyone, including goalkeeper Salman Akbar.
Such a defensive blunder by Pakistan was so unexpected that even the Kiwis themselves seem stunned by the goal and the lead.
Though the goal was enough to send Pakistan go for the kill, it took the side 13 more minutes to sound the board for the equalizer.
When Abbasi scored following a fine move, the entire stadium was on its feet cheering loudly for the team.
Soon after penalty corner expert Sohail Abbas came into action with perfect execution of two drag flicks which were just not possible for the New Zealand goalkeeper Paul Woolford to stop.