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Abbot brace sinks Pakistan

Pakistan was already out of the race from making it to the semifinals of the Hero Honda FIH World Cup. For them there was not much to play for other than pride. But for Australia, it was chance to top the Pool B, which would pit them against the team that finished second in Pool A, in the semifinals.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2010 01:41 IST
Saurabh Duggal

Pakistan was already out of the race from making it to the semifinals of the Hero Honda FIH World Cup. For them there was not much to play for other than pride. But for Australia, it was chance to top the Pool B, which would pit them against the team that finished second in Pool A, in the semifinals. Australia achieved their objective, thanks to a superior goal average, pipping England, who also have 12 points.

After 70 minutes of good hockey from both teams, Australia collected three points and Pakistan faced another defeat. Out of their five league matches, the team from the sub-continent lost four. But despite today's (1-2) defeat against the world No. 2 team, Pakistan's performance on the day was a saving grace.

Drag-flick specialist Sohail Abbas gave Pakistan the lead in the 24th minute, but they couldn't hold onto it for long and a brace from Desmond Abbott, with the first goal coming in the 38th minute, snatched the match from Pakistan.

Earlier, the match began on a fast note and Australia was the first to raid the opponent's striking zone.

They got a penalty corner in the 11th minute but Kieran Govers' drag-flick was well run down by the Pakistan defenders.

Within no time, the Australians were again seen charging on Pakistan and Jamie Dwyer's deflection, coming from the cross of Mark Knowles, was brilliantly saved by Pakistan's goal custodian Salman Akbar.

Pakistan earned their first penalty corner in the 23rd minute. Abbas's drag-flick hit the crossbar but wrong stick tackling from Australia got Abbas another chance to showcase the art of the drag-flick. And this time Abbas made no mistake, putting the ball into the top-left corner of the cage through a powerful drag-flick.

At the end of the first half the score remained 1-0 in Pakistan's favour.

It was in the third minute of the second half when Abbott, with a powerful hit, put the ball into the far corner of the Pakistan goal cage.

With just two minutes left in the game, Abbott did it again for Australia.