Pakistan lost their last Pool B match against Australia in the Champions Trophy in Melbourne yesterday, going down to a controversial penalty-corner goal.
Australia, chasing a fifth straight Champions Trophy, needed to win by two goals or more against Pakistan to take top spot in the pool away from the Dutch but they could only manage a 1-0 win. Pakistan played well throughout the matched and looked capable of pulling off an upset before a second-half penalty corner to Kieran Govers gave the home team the win.
There was controversy when Pakistan challenged Australia’s goal, claiming that the referee had awarded a yellow card as well as a penalty corner over a single foul, according to Express News. Pakistan head coach Akhtar Rasool was disgruntled with the decision.
“It was against the law to give two decisions over one foul,” said Rasool. “We challenged the goal by Australia because it was scored through a penalty corner that should have never been awarded.”
Meanwhile, Australian defender Mark Knowles said there was still room for improvement despite the win.
“We haven’t played that well yet and know we can get better,” said Knowles. “We need to improve, we now play England, they are young and it’s a quarter-final so it will be big for everyone.”
Pakistan face Germany in the quarter-final tomorrow, while Australia will face England.
India top group despite loss
India finished top of Pool A despite going down 3-2 in their final pool game to Olympic champions Germany.
World number 11 India will now face win-less Belgium, who finished fourth in Pool B, in the quarter-final. A win will put India into the semi-finals and a chance for their first Champions Trophy medal since their bronze at Amstelveen in 1982. Striker SK Uthappa said his team still took confidence going forward despite the loss to the Germans.
“Team morale is very high because we knew that it wouldn’t be an easy game to play against the Olympic gold medallists, so we were prepared for a good fight and that’s what happened,” he said. “It was most important that we finished on top and that is what we did.”
The Netherlands, ranked third in the world, topped Pool B after defeating Belgium 5-4 and will face New Zealand in their quarter-final.
The Dutch were pushed by the Belgians who fought back from a 3-0 half-time deficit in the nine-goal thriller. Dutch captain Klaas Vermeulen said despite the close call they would take the positives heading into the quarter-finals.
“The tournament is starting now,” said the skipper. “We have to forget the second half and remember the first and stay focused.”
Elsewhere, England blew their chance to finish on top of Pool A after drawing 1-1 against New Zealand.
“It was against the law to give two decisions over one foul. We challenged the goal by Australia because it was scored through a penalty corner that should have never been awarded.”
“We haven’t played that well yet and know we can get better. We need to improve, we now play England, they are young and it’s a quarter-final so it will be big for everyone.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 5th, 2012.
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