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 February 24, 2002 | 1600 IST

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Pakistan too good for South Africa

Four-time champions Pakistan got off to a rousing start in the 10th men's hockey World Cup, trouncing South Africa 5-0 in a Pool A match in the afternoon session on the opening day of the tournament on Sunday.

Penalty-corner ace Sohail Abbas and forward Atif Bashir scored two goals apiece while substitute Muhammad Shabbir chipped in with one in between.

In another match in the same pool, runners-up of the last World Cup Spain beat Belgium 2-0

The Pakistanis, displaying superb dribbling skills, showed they will be a strong contender for the title as they totally outplayed the South Africans. They took time to settle down and gauge the hard-running style the South Africans displayed, but once they forged ahead in the 25th minute through a field goal from Bashir, they just cruised through though they were restricted to just a goal at the breather.

Sohail Abbas made it 2-0 four minutes after the breather from a penalty-corner before Muhammad Shabir made it three from a field goal in the 55th minute.

Bashir got his second goal two minutes later before Abbas could complete the rout from another penalty-corner in the 63rd minute.

South Africa, who finished second in the first Champions Challenge last December, hardly troubled the Pakistanis though their prolific scorer Greg Nicol was guilt of sqandering a couple of easy chances early in the match.

Spain scored a goal in each half through Albert Sala, in the 18th minute, and Xavier Ribas, in the 57th minute to take full points.

Lacklustre India held by Japan
D'Souza promises better showing in next matches
Korea and England win opening World Cup ties

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