Pakistan finish 8th, their worst ever showing in Olympic hockey

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Beijing, Aug 21 (UNI) Three time champion Pakistan's cup of woes filled to the brim as they went down to New Zealand 2-4 to finish eighth, their worst ever showing in their 15 appearances in the Olympic Hockey competition here today.

In other match of the morning session, Belgium routed Canada 3-0 to take the ninth spot in the 12-nation tournament.

It was a disjointed Pakistan side which looked clueless against more determined rivals who dominated most of the procedings.

However, the green shirts did make sporadic but incisive moves which fetched them five penalty corners but they failed to convert any of them.

For the Kiwis, who led 1-0 at half time, the goal scorer were Simon Child (26th), Shaw Hayden (39th, 53rd), Gareth Brooks (43rd). For the losers Abbas Bilgrami (43rd) and Rehan Butt (56th) scored.

Kiwis after frustrating Pakistani forwards, who missed some good chances, surged ahead in the 26th minute through Simon Child who captalised on a defensive lapse who shot a superb goal (1-0).

The Kiwis virtually sealed the match in their favour when they pumped in two more goals in a space of four minutes to take a decisive 3-0 lead.

Hayden Shaw converted a penalty corner four minutes after the lemon break and then in the 43rd minute Gareth Brooks scored.

Pakistan reduced the gap through Abbas Bilgrami in the 46th minute but Simon Child scored off a penalty corner in the 53rd minute to give New Zealand 4-1 lead and the seventh place finish.

The former Asian champions made few counter forays and in the 56th minute they managed one more goal through veteran Rehan Butt (2-4) but that was all they could do as Kiwis did not allow them to score any more.

Meanwhile, Jerome Dekeyser scored twice to enable Belgium overpower Canada 3-0 to take the ninth place.

Playing under a heavy downpour, Belgium used the long ball with Dekeyser deflecting into goal a Xavier Reckinger pass in the second minute. Then John Dohmen connected Fleix Denayer's free hit in the 24th minute for the second goal.

Dekeseyer then slammed his second and team's third goal with a reverse hit after intercepting a pass from Cedric Charlier just before the final whistle.

In between, Canada tried hard for a goal but their forwards were wayward in their attempts. Their best scoring chance came in the 52nd minute when they were awarded a stroke after a goal bound hit by Mark Pearson struck a defender on the foot but Wayne Fernandes flicked his stroke high.

Belgium finished ninth, the same position they attained at 1978 Montreal Games when they last played in the Olympics.

Canada ended 10th, the same placing which they had attained at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. They did not qualify for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

UNI HSB RAR SSC1252

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