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Pakistan labour to down Belgium


March 04, 2004 21:30 IST

The individual brilliance of Pakistan proved just too much for Belgium as the Asian giants won 2-0 in a Pool B match in the men's Olympic hockey qualifying tournament in Madrid on Thursday.

However, it took Pakistan all of 50 minutes to breach the Belgian wall as Kashif Jawad deflected Ghazanfar Ali's penalty-corner pass in the 51st minute and then Muhammad Saqlain capped a fine 1-2 move with skipper Muhammad Nadeem for the second goal in the 62nd.

Pakistan, with two victories from as many games, have six points while Belgium remain on one point from the 1-1 draw with India in their first match.

As they did against India on the first day, Belgium threw numbers at the mercurial Pakistani forwards in the first-half.

Pakistan applied tremendous pressure, but the Belgian defence soaked it all in, including four penalty-corners to take the breather on level terms.

In the second-half, both teams noticeably stepped up the pace. Belgium patched together a couple of good moves, but could not translate them into goals.

At the other end, Pakistan persisted and finally Jawad tapped Ali's pass after a dummy move by Sohail Abbas for the first goal.

A few minutes later came the best move of the match when Nadeem and Saqlain cut through the middle on a counter-attack with the latter flicking the ball past the Belgian goalkeeper.


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