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Sohail's 'trick' sinks Germany
January 12, 2004 19:55 IST
Defending champions Pakistan pulled off an amazing 4-3 victory over World champions Germany to maintain their unbeaten run in the seven-nation Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament at the National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.
Thrice in arrears, Pakistan fought back magnificently, thanks to a hat-trick by penalty-corner specialist Sohail Abbas (42nd, 51st, 59th minutes) and the match-winner from Muhammad Nadeem (65th), to stun the Germans.
For Germany, who had the match in hand at one stage, Matthias Witthaus (34th minute), Benjamin Koepp (45th) and Bjoern Michel (53rd) scored.
The world champions led 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 before yeilding ground to the sheer individual brilliance of the Pakistanis.
It was Germany's first defeat in the tournament in four outings.
The highlight of the day was Abbas's three-in-a-row. Denied a penalty-corner for a full 132 minutes, the 26-year-old drag-flicker finally got the chance to parade his wares. He made two conversions and then flicked in a penalty-stroke that put Pakistan level at 3-3.
Pakistan earned their first penalty-corner in the 41st minute, after having drawn a blank against Spain. The last award was in the 50th minute against India, when Abbas scored his first hat-trick of the tournament. Thus, Abbas was itching to have a go and the Germans presented him the opportunities.
If the first-half belonged to Germans, who went ahead a minute from half-time through Witthaus from open play, then the second certainly belonged to Pakistan, who came back strongly on resumption after Abbas scored the first of his three goals.
From there on, it was an open-ended game as the two teams threw caution to the wind. The Germans went 2-1 up on a Koepp deflection only to see Abbas coming up with yet another conversion.
Michel put Germans in front for the third time in the game, but a stick-check on Muhammad Saqlain led to a penalty stroke that Abbas converted (3-3).
With five minutes to go, left-half Muhammad Nadeem came up with a great run down the middle and flicked to his right to Rehan Butt. Goalkeeper Arnold Clemens advanced to narrow the angle, but Butt deftly side-stepped him and passed to Nadeem, who slammed the ball to the net.