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Pakistan lose to Canada, finish last

Source: PTI
Last updated on: March 11, 2010 19:06 IST
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- 12th Men's Hockey World Cup

Pakistan registered their worst performance in a hockey World Cup as a resilient Canada pushed the Asian giants to last place with a golden goal victory in the 12th edition of the mega event, in New Delhi on Thursday.

Scott Tupper converted a penalty-corner in the 83rd minute to hand the Pan American side a 3-2 win in extra-time and a 11th place finish in the 12-team tournament.

This is the first time that Pakistan have finished last in a World Cup. Their worst performance before today was a 11th placing in the 1986 edition of the tournament in London.

Canada, meanwhile, finished in 11th place for the third time, after 1978 and 1990.

Connor Grimes (12th minute), Mark Pearson (58th) and Tupper (83rd) contributed in Canada's cause with a goal each, while Rehan Butt (4th) and Akhtar Ali (46th) sounded the board for Pakistan.

The 11-12th classification match between the teams was fought keenly and both sides finished the regulation 70 minutes locked at 2-2.

There was hardly any difference between the two sides and even the additional time of 15 minutes (seven-and-a-half minutes in each half) failed to decide the winner, which dragged the encounter into a tie-break.

Pakistan scored the first goal of the match in the fourth minute when Butt deflected home a powerful reverse stick shot by Shakeel Abbasi.

Shocked by the early goal, the Canadians pressed for the equaliser and got two scoring chances within seven minutes. But on first occasion Sukhwinder Gabbar Singh's powerful shot hit the left post of the Pakistan goal and Connor Grimes's reverse stick shot from a narrow angle was easily kept away by Pakistan custodian Salman Akbar.

However, Canada's persistent pressure resulted in the equaliser in the 12th minute when Grimes deflected the ball into the bottom right corner of the Pakistan goal after receiving a hard cross from Rob Short.

After levelling the scoreline, Canada continued to attack the Pakistan goal and earned two penalty-corners in the last 11 minutes of the match but failed to convert. The teams went into the breather 1-1.

After the change of ends, Pakistan came out all guns blazing and secured back-to-back penalty-corners, but Sohail Abbas disappointed on both occasions.

Tupper got a golden opportunity to put Canada ahead but a brilliant Akbar in the Pakistan goal thwarted him.

Canada goalkeeper Dave Carter then made two great saves, first clearing an Abbas drag flick from Pakistan's third penalty-corner and then padding away Waseem Ahmed's powerful shot from the top of the circle.

Akhtar Ali, however, gave Pakistan the lead in the 46th minute when he beautifully slammed the ball into Canada's goal from a Muhammad Zubair's deflected cross from the right.

But Pakistan's joy was short-lived as Mark Pearson scored the equaliser for Canada 12 minutes from the hooter after the video umpire was brought into action.

From there on both teams went for the winner but failed. This brought extra-time into play in the first classification match of the tournament.

The opening half of extra-time was a dull affair as both the teams preferred to play safe.

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