Hockey round-up: Pak beat SA in cliffhanger

London Olympics
London, Aug 6: Sunday was an absorbing day in men's hockey with 30 goals being scored throughout the day.

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Olympics Specials

Pool A

Pakistan beat South Africa 5-4 (Half-time score: 3-3)

Nine goals were scored during this cliffhanger and finally it was Pakistan which kept its nerve to pull out a win and kept its semifinal hopes alive. The South Africans made the early inroads in the rain-lashed match when Thornton McDade found the ball alone in the circle in the 3rd minute and finished off the job. Pakistan tried to draw level but could succeed only in the 20th minute when Abdul Haseem Khan scored off a good pass from Shafqat Rasool.

South Africa got the lead a second time when Justin Reid-Ross converted a penalty-corner but Shafqat Rasool made it 2-2 within a minute while Abdul Haseem Khan put the Asians ahead three minutes later. The Africans tied the score just with few seconds left in the first half when Reid-Ross scored his second off a penalty-corner. The game continued to have its intensity even after the break when Wade Paton smashed one home in the 48th minute to give the lead for a third time in the match! Pakistan retaliated with full force but could equalise the scores only with just six minutes left. The veteran, Sohail Abbas, scored off a penalty-corner while Waseem Ahmad scored the winning goal in the 67th minute. Pakistan successfully defended their second lead in the match for the remaining period and knocked the spirited South Africans out of the Olympics.

Great Britain drew with Australia 3-3 (Half-time score: 0-2)

The hosts drew level with the mighty Kookaburras after trailing 0-3 and kept the suspense on who would make it to the semifinals in Pool A still alive. The Aussies started the day with a bang when Russell Ford slammed in two goals to make the score 2-0 by the 11th minute.

Five minutes into the second half, Mark Knowles increased the lead and it looked the hosts were staring at a defeat, the huge home support at the Riverbank Arena notwithstanding. But the British saw their fortunes smiling when Jonty Clarke scored off Christopher Ciriello to pull one back for the hosts in the 47th minute. Six minutes later, Barry Middleton deflected in a penalty corner to narrow the gap further. Australia suddenly started to feel the pressure and when Knowles was shown the green card, Great Britain knew they had their chances. James Tindall equalised the score in the 66th minute to script one of the best comebacks in Olympic hockey. Australia sought a video referral for the goal but was turned down.

Spain beat Argentina 3-1 (Half-time score 0-0)

The Spanish, clearly the tragic heroes in this Olympic with two of their key players getting injured, desperately needed to remain alive in the tournament and they delivered against Argentina just when the doctor ordered. The game was, however, quite a dull one and the Spanish woke up from their slumber after the Argentines drew first blood in the 55th minute. Spain scored their three goals in the last five minutes through Pau Quemada, Miguel Dalas and Xavi Lleonart. With this win, Spain now has seven points from four games and will need to beat the hosts, Great Britain, in their last match. The last two matches involving the top four teams in the group are virtual quarter finals now.

Pool B

New Zealand drew with Belgium 1-1 (Half-time score: 0-0)

The match was an absorbing one with both sides playing attacking hockey. The Belgians were faster in the opening minutes and kept the Black Sticks goalkeeper, Kyle Pontifex, busy but Kiwis gradually weathered the initial storm. New Zealand were reduced to nine players at one point of time and Belgium pushed them on the backfoot. Pontifex really had a good day in office to keep the Kiwis alive in the match. The first goal of the match took place at the 50th minute when Tom Boon lifted one over Pontifex into the goal. Jerome Dekeyser came close to add to the tally but did not flick it strong enough. Nick Wilson drew level in the 54th minute and came very close to find the winning goal but Andrew Hayward's shot found the post. The draw put both teams out of semifinal contention and will play for the classification matches.

South Korea beat India 4-1 (Half-time score: 1-1)

Jang Jong-Hyun, Nam Hyun-Woo (two goals) and Seo-Jong Ho scored for the South Koreans while Gurwinder Singh Chandi was the only scorer for India. This win keeps the Koreans in the hunt for a semifinal spot (See Report)

The Netherlands beat Germany 3-1 (Half-time score: 1-1)

The Dutch beat the Germans 3-1 in the clash of the titans and bagged the top position in Pool A. The match, which was attended by Prince Willem and his wife Maxima of the Dutch Royal family, was a special occasion for Teun de Nooijer, who earned his 450th cap and also scored a crucial goal. Germany made the first strike when Christopher Zeller scored in the 3rd minute but Bob de Voogd tied the scores just after 10 minutes when he scooped up a rebound and slammed in a goal. Just a minute into the second half, Nooijer gave a crucial lead to the Dutch when he converted an excellent pass.

Mink van der Weerden scored the third for the team after converting a penalty corner at the 41st minute. It was Weerden's fifth goal in the tournament. Both teams played a high-speed game and the Germans tried their best to comeback into the game but failed to make inroads. The Netherlands entered the Olympic semi-finals for the seventh successive time while the Germans still need some good work and the favour of luck to progress into the last four.

OneIndia News

(With FIH inputs)

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