Britain gets the better of Pakistan

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CELEBRATION TIME: British players are ecstatic after scoring a goal against Pakistan.
CELEBRATION TIME: British players are ecstatic after scoring a goal against Pakistan.

Australia routs Canada; New Zealand upsets South Korea

BEIJING: Britain scored its first Olympic men’s field hockey victory over Pakistan in 56 years when it won its opening match 4-2 here on Monday.

The British, who led 3-0 at half-time, survived a two-goal burst by Pakistan in the second session before taking full points in the Pool ‘B’ match at the Olympic Green Hockey Stadium.

Britain, which last beat Pakistan 2-1 at the 1952 Helsinki Games, had lost 8-1 and 8-2 in its two previous Olympic meetings in Sydney and Athens.

Germany downs China

In another match, World champion Germany was given a scare by Games debutant China before opening its campaign with a facile 4-1 win in Pool ‘A’.

Defending champion Australia flexed its muscles with a 6-1 rout of Canada in Pool ‘B’, while a hat-trick of penalty corners by Hayden Shaw saw New Zealand wipe off an early deficit to upset South Korea 3-1 in Pool ‘A’. Britain never looked back after James Tindall scored in the second minute and went into the break after two more goals by Rob Moore and Ashley Jackson.

Pakistan, which won the last of its three Olympic golds at Los Angeles in 1984, made it 2-3 through Shakeel Abbasi and Muhammad Waqas before its fate was sealed by Matt Daly seven minutes before the end.

British captain Ben Hawes, sent off with a yellow card in the second half, said a semifinal place was still not easy from a pool that also includes Australia and the Netherlands.

“We are in a tough pool and have to win every game, so I am definitely happy to win this one,” he said.

Coach Jason Lee added: “I had barely settled into my coaching box when we scored the first goal. It showed we were not nervous.”

Pakistan coach Naveed Alam blasted his team for missing easy chances.

“I can’t be happy when we missed so many goals. It is unacceptable at the start of the tournament. We had seven penalty corners and wasted all of them.

“It makes it difficult for us now, but we will fight all the way.”

China, backed by some 1,000 home fans, took the lead through Na Yubo in the seventh minute before Germany restored parity ahead of the break through Christopher Zeller.

Stunning goals

Florian Keller fashioned Germany’s victory with two stunning goals in the space of 11 minutes in the second half before Carlos Nevado completed the tally two minutes before the final whistle. — Agencies

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