Leading 4-0 at one stage, Pakistan had to contend with a 5-5 draw following a brilliant fightback by Argentina at the Super Series Hockey 9s in Perth, Australia yesterday.
With the missed opportunity, the national team failed to confirm their place in the final match set to be played tomorrow; however, their chances are still intact courtesy a victory over Malaysia in their opening game on Thursday.
Mohammad Dilber – who displayed a spirited show in the Sultan of Johor Cup junior event recently in Malaysia – was the standout performer for Pakistan, smashing a hat-trick in the drawn game against Argentina.
Pakistan dominated the proceedings from the outset and scored their opening goal in the second minute through Dilber. Muhammad Rizwan Jr then doubled the lead in the 19th minute.
Dilber scored again to make it 3-0 just before half-time on a move initiated by vice-captain Shafqat Rasool, who added another goal right at the start of the second-half.
However, the South Americans refused to give up despite conceding a huge lead and made a valiant comeback at this stage.
With Lucas Rossi opening the account in the second half, Argentina scored four more goals through Lucas Rey, Agustin Mazzilli, Matias Paredes and Guido Barreiros to gain a lead for the first time in the match.
They were close to snatching a truly remarkable victory when Dilber rescued his side with a last-gasp goal, completing his hat-trick as both teams shared a point each.
In another match yesterday, hosts Australia ended Malaysia’s hopes of reaching the final with an 8-0 thumping.
National team whips Malaysia 5-3 in opener
In Pakistan’s opening match of the tournament, Dilber had scored two goals to help Pakistan defeat Malaysia 5-3.
Dilber was complemented by Arsalan Qadir, Umer Bhutta and Salman Hussain as all three scored a goal each. Dilber is currently the leading goal-scorer of the tournament.
Pakistan will meet the hosts Australia today while Argentina will be playing Malaysia on the last day of round matches.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2013.
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