In one of the most impressive displays in recent years, Pakistan shocked Argentina, the reigning Olympic Champions, 4-1.
The three points gained today were green shirts’ first in this last edition of Champions Trophy Hockey Tournament in the Dutch city of Breda.
Pakistan started the match well as in the early games. They were seen losing concentration after sometime but not today. The defence remained organised throughout and there were some breath taking moves up front especially in the last quarter First three quarters was more or less evenly played.
Both the sides had chances and penalty corners A classic right side build up saw Umar Bhutta sending a back pass from the goal line inside the circle to M.Irfan Jr, who standing in an ideal spot confidently put it in to put Pakistan into the lead in the 10th minute.
Up and down game continued. Argentina equalised in the penultimate minute of the first half.
A good ball into circle was sent to the goal by Matias Paredes from close range.
Half Time: 1-1
It was the same story in the third quarter with the two sides looking for a goal but not getting one.
The last 15 minutes saw Pakistan go berserk. They repeatedly tore apart the Argentine defense.
Despite wasting some easy chances, they found the target thrice. Off their fourth penalty corner, Mubashar’s powerful flat push went through the legs of goal keeper Santiago.
A couple of minutes later, the most delightful goal of the match was seen. Skipper M.Rizwan Sr took a ball from own half, ran for about 20 metres before passing to Rashid Mahmood. Rashid ran into the circle and his deceptive pass reached unmarked Ajaz in front of the goal who deflected it into the net.
Tempers flared and two Argentine and one Pakistani players were shown yellow cards in the last quarter.
Pakistan’s fourth goal came in the 58th minute. Ammad Shakeel Butt, playing his 100th international today, brilliantly entered the circle from the right side. He was felled down by Ibarra and the umpire had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty stroke spot.
Up stepped Aleem Bilal who sent the goal keeper the wrong way.
Pakistan’s overall ascendancy is also manifested by 17 shots on the goal as compared to 13 by the World No 2 Argentina.
They were also ahead in the penalty corner count by six to three.
It was a memorable victory for Pakistan hockey and must do a lot in raising the morale not only of the players but also of the followers of the game back home.
Pakistan: M.Irfan Jr (10′), Mubashar Ali (47′ off penalty corner), Ajaz Ahmed (49′) and
Aleem Bilal (58′ off penalty stroke)
Argentina: Matias Paredes (34th minute)