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Pakistan hold Spain in ill-tempered match
September 10, 2006 22:17 IST
Penalty-corner specialist Sohail Abbas came good at the right moment as Pakistan pulled off a 2-2 draw against Spain in an eventful Pool A match of the 11th FIH men's hockey World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany, on Sunday.
Abbas, who came out of retirement earlier this year, converted Pakistan's only penalty-corner in the 52nd minute to level the scores 2-2 and ensure that the teams remain tied on points, each having five from three matches.
Earlier, Rehan Butt tapped the ball between goalkeeper Bernardino Harrera in the 11th minute after a fast left-wing move to put Pakistan ahead.
But Spain equalised in the 28th minute as Santiago Freixa shot a reverse hit into the goal and past the 40th minute took a 2-1 advantage when Pol Amat converted a penalty-stroke that Pakistan hotly disputed.
In a stop-start match that deteriorated into a scrappy contest with both teams frequently questioning umpiring decisions, neither side could dictate terms, though the Spaniards looked more dangerous when on the attack.
The focus was as much on the two umpires, Sumesh Putra (Canada) and Henrik Ehlers (Denmark) as the controlling officials tended to be tentative in their rulings, leading to the players going over the boil disputing the decisions.
Ehlers was indecisive when Xavier Ribas pushed towards the goal from a penalty corner scramble and the ball struck defender Ghazanfar Ali's body before rolling out.
The umpire first signalled a penalty-corner. But, following a Spanish protest, he consulted with Putra and converted it into a penalty stroke. The Pakistanis were up in arms against the decision, but, ultimately Amat took the stroke and converted it.
The Danish official received further attention from the Pakistani forwards when skipper Muhammad Saqlain was clearly pushed from behind inside the circle by a Spanish forward and
the umpire blew for a penalty-corner. The Pakistanis were understandably angry, but the umpire stood firm.