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Champions Challenge final: NZ beat Pakistan

Source: PTI
December 14, 2009 14:00 IST
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New Zealand qualified for next year's elite Champions Trophy after scoring a 4-2 win over Pakistan in the final of the Champions Challenge Hockey tournament in Salta (Argentina).

The summit clash between the two top ranked teams began on an aggressive note, with penalty-corner specialist Sohail Abbas scoring in seventh minute to put Pakistan ahead 1-0.

Black sticks replied with a penalty-corner conversion 10 minutes later with Ryan Archibald deflecting on the post.

In the 20th minute, New Zealand scored a sumptuous goal with Phillip Burrows, diving full length to deflect a cross from the left, giving his team a 2-1 lead.

Pakistan could not penetrate the compact rival's defense and tried to use long passes but in vain.

In the last minute of first-half Rehan Butt pounced on a ball in the crowded circle and acrobatically managed to shoot it out of reach of Pontifex, levelling the scores.

In the second half, Kiwi's went in the offensive with Simon Child, Phillip Burrows and Ryan Archibald, circulating the ball with speed and accuracy.

Their best chance was made by Nicholas Wilson, who deflected the ball from close range on the crossbar, but the score did not evolve.

Pakistan had chances to shot into lead but wasted three more penalty-corners. 

New Zealand scored two goals in quick succession in the last five minutes, first by Steven Edwards and then with Phillip Burrows, both at the conclusion of fast offensive moves that swept away the Pakistani defense. 

Sohail Abbas missed another penalty-corner and New Zealand were celebrating their first Champions Challenge victory with their traditional haka, traditional Kiwi dance.

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