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SA crush Pakistan's semifinal dreams

Source: PTI
March 06, 2010 20:43 IST
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Pakistan slumped to their worst defeat in the tournament when a lowly South Africa stunned the Asian giants 4-3 in a must-win Pool B match to shatter their semifinal dreams at the hockey World CupĀ in New Delhi on Saturday.

The defeat was also Pakistan's first-ever loss at the hands of world number 13 South Africa in the international arena.

On the other hand, South Africa not only pocketed full three points in the tournament but also registered their first World Cup win since they defeated Belgium 5-4 in 2002.

Gareth Carr (38th minute), Ian Haley (42nd), Taine Paton (47th) and Marvin Harper (55th) scored for South Africa, while Rehan Butt (5th), Imran Muhammad (68th) and Waseem Ahmed (70+3) were the scorers for Pakistan.

The match started on a pacy note with both South Africa and Pakistan going for attack from the onset.

They might have come into the match as underdogs with three successive defeats under their belt, but South Africans gave Pakistan a run for their money in the opening half.

The 0-12 drubbing at the hands of Australia seemed to have made the South Africans more determined to prove a point or two before the hockey fraternity.

The South Africans got an opportunity to score in the second minute when they earned their first penalty corner but failed to beat Salman Akbar on the Pakistani goal.

It was Pakistan who scored the first goal three minutes later when experienced striker Butt pushed the ball over the goal-line past South Africa custodian Erasmus Pieterse after a great run down the baseline.

The goal seemed to have rejuvenated the Pakistani side as they press forward for another and in the effort earned three penalty corners, including two on the trot.

On one such occasion ace drag-flicker Sohail Abbas converted but his goal was disallowed by the video umpire after South Africa called for referral claiming that the ball was not stopped properly.

From there on it was all South Africa as they made continuous raids into the Pakistani citadel in search of the equaliser.

Despite several chances in the dying moments of the opening half, South Africa failed to score courtesy a vigilant Pakistan custodian Akbar.

Down by a goal, the South Africans came out a rejuvenated lot after the lemon-break and not only drew parity but also scored two more goals in a span of just nine minutes.

Three minutes into the second half, South Africa earned their fourth penalty corner of the match and Carr made no mistake in sending his drag-flick into the Pakistan goal.

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