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Pakistan virtually out of contention after losing 1-3 to Australia

Beijing, Aug 15 (UNI) Playing an all out attacking game defending champion Australia virtually shattered Pakistan's dreams of staying in contention as they beat the Asian powerhouse 3-1 in the Olympic hockey competition here today.

Earlier, Taeke Taekema scored a hat-trick as strong contenders Holland overcame Canada 4-2, while Spain waged a grim battle to overcome spirited China 2-1 in the Olympic Hockey Competition here today.

Both Holland and Spain have now three victories, from as many matches, to their credit and with nine points each they have virtually assured themselves of a place in the semi finals in this 12 - team competition.

For both Canada and China it was their third defeat in a row and they are out of medal contention.

This was Pakistan's second defeat in three outings while Australia almost assured themselves a semi final berth with third straight victory.

Pakistan played good first half but could not maintain the tempo for the rest of 35 minutes. Some leading senior players were seen missing chances at crucial stages and at the other end defence extended too much leverage to the Aussies to retain the possession.

Australia were well in control of the game at early stage of the match and got good number of chances in the first 12 minutes with Mathew Wells and James Dwyer missing the targets on separate opportunities.

Against the run of the play, Pakistan shot into the lead in the 16th minute with Shakil Abbbasi fully utilising the opportunity to send a rare wave of joy in Pakistan camp.

Minutes later, Pakistan were reduced to 10 men. Mohammad Waqas' absence proved a telling blow as Australia banged home the equaliser a minute later through a field effort.

Grant Schubert found himself on right place to dodge the keeper for his team's opening goal.

Pakistan matched every Australian move in the next 15 minutes as the first half ended 1-1.

Australia were right on the attack with the start of the second session and scored their second goal through veteran Jamies Dawyer on the indirect penalty corner conversion that saw Pakistan defence standing helplessly.

Pakistan got good number of goal equalising opportunities and there was none better than the Shakil Abbasi got in the 54th minute when even goalkeeper had left his place. His hit full blooded hit which went over the bar.

Australia put the match beyond Pakistan when Travis Brooks deflected the ball into the net in the 59th minute though a delightful move.

Australia could have added a couple of more goals but failed to capitalise on the coming opportunities.

Meanwhile, Pakistan lodged protest over the controversial suspension of M Saqlain and Mohamad Waqas's longer stay at the sideline because of the yellow cards.

There was confusion all around when field umpires showed yellow card to Saqlain in the second half.

''I was told by the field umpire that it was referee's decision.

However, when at the end of the match I went to the referee, he said he did not ask him. It was total confusion who sent me off as I committed no foul,'' Saqlain said after the match.

Even M Waqas stayed out for almost 15 minutes in the first half.

''That resulted in total break up in moves. We could have added a few more goals after we gained an early lead,'' Zaka said.

In another match, Germany were held to a 3-3 draw by South Korea, while New Zealand beat Belgium 4-2 and Britain downed South Africa 2-0.


Story first published: Friday, August 15, 2008, 22:02 [IST]
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