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Argentina rout Pakistan to finish fifth
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May 12, 2007 11:44 IST

Argentina saw off a late revival by Pakistan to post a 4-2 victory and finish fifth in the 16th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup eight-nation hockey tournament in Ipoh, Malaysia, on Saturday.

Leading 3-0 at the break through goals by Pedro Ibarra (11th minute), Lucas Rafael Rossi (16th) and Juan Eduardo Garreta (24th), Argentina, who had finished seventh in their debut appearance last year, turned complacent and Pakistan needed no second invitation.

Ehsan Ullah (47th) and Rehan Butt (61st) brought Pakistan back into the match, but Argentina delivered the final blow in the 65th through Pedro, who converted his second penalty-corner of the game.

Pakistan appeared rather jaded in the first-half as Argentina called the tune. With the Pakistani defence walking up the panic street when under pressure, goals came rather easily for Argentina.

However, in the second-half, there was a dramatic change in fortunes as the Pakistanis who enjoyed space in midfield as Argentina relaxed their grip.

A draw appeared imminent as the Pakistanis troubled the Argentine defence no end. But the South Americans, who had earlier in the tournament beaten Australia 1-0 and lost to India 2-0,scored their fourth of a penalty-corner.

It was Pakistan's worst finish in this tournament that they had won in 1999, 2000 and 2003. Last year they finished fifth.

Earlier, a three-goal burst, including two in the last four minutes, by Xian Tang Liu, featured China's 4-2 win against Canada in a play-off for the 7-8 positions.

Yi Song (27th) scored the other Chinese goal after Liu had opened their account in the 17th.

Canada, fighting for all their worth, scored through Wayne Fernandes (27th) and Paul Wettlaufer (34th).

Debutants China, the silver medallists at the 2006 Asian Games, thus completed their engagements on a high while Canada, preparing for this year's Pan-Amercian Games that doubles up as a qualifier for the 2008 Olympics, returned home happy with the exposure to their young team.

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