Pakistan held 2008 silver medallists Spain to a draw while World Champions Australia thrashed South Africa 6-0.
Pakistan held 2008 Olympic silver medallists Spain to a 1-1 draw on the opening day of the men’s Olympic hockey competition at the London Games after Australian captain Jamie Dwyer’s spurred the World champions to a runaway 6-0 win over South Africa on Monday.
Pakistan wasted several scoring chances after surviving sustained Spanish attacks in the first session and later in the second half saw a Spanish goal being negated after the umpire had blown the whistle and pointed to the centre.
Spain had the rival goal under intense pressure in the Group A encounter when the Pakistan defenders were unable to clear the ball for 10 minutes.
Pakistan were unlucky that striker Mohammad Rizwan twice faltered after getting into goal-scoring positions and a rising drag flick from skipper Sohail Abbas got deflected out after hitting the cross-piece.
Pakistan had finished last among seven nations in the Azlan Shah Cup two months ago.
After a goalless first session, Pakistan broke the deadlock when Rehan Butt slammed the ball into the board on a pass from Haseem Khan in the 46th minute, but Spain equalised within a minute as Pau Quemada found the target with a reverse hit that beat goalkeeper Imran Shah.
A Spanish goal was overturned after video referral later on when Pakistan protested against a striker swinging the stick to slam a rising ball into the net.
Earlier, in another Group A match, Australia’s nippy striker Dwyer, one of the best players in world hockey, added another feather to his cap when the scored thrice as the World champions gave South Africa a drubbing.
Dwyer’s three-goal feat brought him at par with Mark Hager’s record of 179 goals for Australia in international hockey.
Dwyer’s three strikes featured two penalty strokes, both of which he was instrumental in earning, and the deflection of a penalty corner.
South Africa, who had to come to the Olympics Games after being forced to qualify twice, were swept away by the Australian wave.
Australia, who have lost only two matches in major tournaments during the past three years, opened the scoring with Dwyer converting a penalty stroke in the 16th minute.
Dwyer sent in a cross from the left that produced the second goal in the 34th minute as Matthew Butturini swept the ball into boards. Christopher Ciriello (46th mintue) converted a penalty corner.
Dwyer then scored off a penalty corner (48th minute) and a penalty stroke in the (58th) before Glenn Turner’s field goal in the 62nd minute completed Australia’s domination.
Group B, in which India features, threw up an interesting result in the opening match of the men’s Olympic hockey competition when South Korea defeated New Zealand 2-0 in an upset of sorts.
Both Korean goals came from fine deflections by You Hyo Sik, who found the target in the 19th and 34th minutes.
New Zealand came back strongly, forcing three penalty corners toward the end, but failed to breach the Korean defence.
Andrew Hayward beat the Korean goalkeeper with his flick in the 58th minute, but Lee Nam Yong stopped the ball on the goal line.
New Zealand captain Dean Couzins said the loss would affect their chances of advancing to the semifinals.
“We gave away a couple of iffy goals and it makes the rest of the tournament really difficult,” said Couzins.