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Pakistan come from behind to win Rabo Trophy

Anupam Ghulati | August 21, 2005 23:02 IST

A resilient Pakistan came from behind to beat Olympic champions Australia 4-3 in a pulsating summit clash to claim the Rabo Trophy in Amstelveen on Sunday.

Trailing 2-3 at the break, Pakistan outwitted the favourites with a display of aggression backed by a solid defence, where goalkeeper Salman Akbar emerged as the hero.

The Pakistan goalscorers were Imran Warsi (18th), Adnan Zakir (32nd), Rehan Butt (42nd) and Mudassar Ali Khan (50th min) while for Australia, Travis Brooks, Grant Schubert and Ben Bishop found the mark in the 8th, 24th and 34th minutes respectively.

The Aussies began on an electric note testing Akbar four times in the first five minutes with forays from Schubert, Jamie Dwyer and Brooks.

They broke the deadlock in the eighth minute when Brooks drew Akbar aside from a Michael McCann pass and neatly pushed the ball in.

Pakistan, realising that their best chance was to match the Aussies, forced their first penalty corner ten minutes later when Shakeel Abassi was obstructed. Warsi, being groomed as Sohail Abbas's successor, flicked powerfully past Stephen Lambert to make it 1-1.

The Aussie forwards then started penetrating into the Pakistan defence with monotonous regularity and were rewarded in the 24th minute when Schubert scored from a Bishop and McCann combine.

However, Pakistan hit back to draw level in the 32nd minute when young Adnan Zakir deflected an Abbasi cross to the surprise of the Australian defenders.

The men from Down Under took the lead for the third time, a minute before the break, from an indirect penalty corner which Bishop opportunistically tapped after a goalmouth scramble.

There was no shortage of high voltage action in the second session as both teams produced high quality performances.

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Pakistan drew parity once more when winger Rehan Butt was set up atop the circle by medio Ghazanfar Ali in the 42nd minute. The Lahore-based WAPDA star made no mistake with his powerful reverse as a frozen Lambert looked on haplessly.

But the best was still to come for the Pakistanis. Their attacks with Shabbir Husain, Zakir and Mudassar became sharper as the pedal was pushed further.

Chakwal-based vice captain Mudassar dug the last nail in the Kookaburra coffin when he shot effortlessly home after the Aussies succumbed to a Pakistani counter attack in the 50th minute.

Australia tried in desperation to find the equaliser, even with Pakistan reduced to ten, in the last five minutes after Adnan Maqsood's suspension, but luck deserted them.

Pakistan coach Asif Bajwa was delighted with this victory.

"It's a great day for Pakistan hockey. We improved with every outing here after finishing last at Hamburg one week ago".

Bajwa gave full credit to skipper Saqlain who played his 200th international for arresting the Aussie onslaughts and had a special word of praise for the consistent goalkeeping of Salman Akbar.

Australian coach Barry Dancer said his team blew away many scoring chances in the first half, but gave Pakistan full marks for an outstanding show.

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Number of User Comments: 1

Sub: Pakis did it ,this trophy ,Congrats on grit.

Pkl. Monday ,Aug. 22nd 2005. Well , congrats. on making the International trophy, Saqlain and his stout hearted mates , Mudassar, Abbasi, Rehan and others ...

Posted by Dharmendra Goel


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