Australia, Holland, storm into semifinals, Pak hopes go up in smoke

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Beijing, Aug 17 (UNI) Defending champion Australia and runners-up Holland played out a 2-2 draw and both teams with 10 points each stormed into the semifinals of the Olympic Hockey tournament here this evening thus ending whatever hopes Pakistan might have entertained of making the last four grade from Pool B .

In pool A, world champion Germany piped Spain 1-0 to throw it open, Spain have nine points, Germany have eight and Korea and New Zealand are on seven points each. All the teams have to play one more match each.

The all-important goal for Germany was scored by Moritz Fuerste in the 34th minute.

In pool B, Australia will play Britain and Holland faces Pakistan in their last league encounters but the results will have no bearing on this pool's semifinal standings.

In a fast paced match, both teams failed to score till the 55th minute and it was the last 15 minutes which saw the game come alive.

Holland took the lead through their penalty corner expert Taeke Taekema in the 55th minute but in a space of six minutes Australia not only equalised but took the lead also.

Eddie Ockenden hit home to draw parity in the 58th minute and in the 61st minute Luke Doerner converted a penalty corner to give his side the lead. However, Holland drew parity in injury time through Taekema who converted a penalty corner for his second goal.

In other matches, a tentative Pakistan survived some anxious moments before overcoming South Africa 3-1 to record their second win while New Zealand recovered from a 0-2 defecit to hold China to a 2-2 draw.

In the morning session, trailing 0-1 till the 46th minute, Asian champion South Korea staged a fine rally to overpower Belgium 3-1 and kept themselves in the reckoning for a semifinal berth.

In a pool 'B' match, a equaliser in the dying moments enabled Britain survive a scare as they drew 1-1 with lowly Canada.

Desperately needing a win, after having lost two of the three matches they have played so far, Pakistan swung into attack right from the start and took the lead in the ninth minute through Mohd Javed who deflected a free hit into the goal (1-0).

The lead lasted just 22 minutes before Austin Smith equalised for the African champions and the two teams went into the break at 1-1.

However, the green shirts dominated the second session in which they scored two more goals through Shakeel Abbasi and Mohd Saqlain.

Shakeel's goal came in the 44th minute when he converted a stroke which was awarded by the umpire when a defender used his body to block a goal bound shot.

Ten minutes before the final whistle, Saqlain scored the third goal of the match which was marred by two yellow cards and an injury to Pakistan player Waqas Akbar who was hit on the head in an off the ball incident.

South Africa are without a point so far having lost all their four matches. Pakitan with six Points from four matches are out of contention because even if they win against Holland they will end up with nine points.

In a pool A encounter, China took a 2-0 lead against New Zealand when Song Yi converted two penalty corners in 3rd and 17th minute, but they failed to build on the advantage.

1976 Montreal Olympics gold medallist New Zealand fought back and reduced the margin a minute before the breather through Simon Child The Kiwis equalised in the 54th minute through Shea Mcaleese who shot home a weak defensive clearance. They had five penalty corners, two narrow misses and a goal disallowed by the video referee.

The pool A match between Korea and Belgium was full of twists and turns with the video umpire giving two crucial decision which affected the outcome of the match in favour of the Asian team.

Belgium, who started aggressively, repeatedly attacked the Korean citadel and finally managed to get the break through in the 20th minute through Jerome Dekseyer who cut through the defence and hit the board with a reverse hit (1-0).

Belgium looked like sealing the match in their favoure when two minutes before the breather they score their second goal which however was disallowed following a referral to the video umpire.

In the second session, a recharged Korea went flat out on the offensive and equalised through You Hyo Sik in the 46th minute.

Belgium protested the goal but the video umpire upheld the field umpire's decision. A distracted European side conceded two more goals in the space of two minutes as the Koreans turned the on the heat.

Jang Jong Hyun put Korea ahead in the 50th minute as he converted a penalty corner and minute later You Hyo Sik scored his second and the team's third goal to seal the match in Korea's favoure.

Korea now have seven points from four matches while Belgium, who slid to their third defeat, have one point from four matches. The point they earned was from a 1-1 draw against Germany.

In another match, Matt Daly scored with just three minutes to go for the final whistle to help Britain manage a point against Canada In a scrappy match that saw yellow card suspension for three players - Sukhwinder (Canada), Matt Daly and James Tindall (Britain), Canada dominated the proceedings but Kullar Bindi muffed some easy sitters to fritter away the advantage.

However, Canada surged ahead in the 48th minute when Paul Wettlaufer's free-hit was deflected into net by Ken Pereira (1-0).

But they could not hold on to the lead as in the 67th minute Daly deflected home a Barry Middleton free hit for the equaliser(1-1).


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