KARACHI: Pakistan hockey tied their final Pool B match 6-6 with New Zealand to make it to the quarter-finals of the men’s Hockey 5s at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China on Thursday.
Muhammad Atiq and Shan Irshad scored two goals each to lift Pakistan back from 6-2 to 6-6.
“The way our players bounced back after being down 6-2 in the last period is really impressive, and it shows that we have the ability to pull through,” coach Tahir Zaman told The Express Tribune from Nanjing.
New Zealand took the lead by scoring in the second, seventh and 12th minutes to end the first period 3-0. They further extended their lead by scoring in the 14th minute of the second period, but Pakistan replied with strikes from Atiq and Irshad in the 15th and 18th minutes of the match, taking the game to 4-2.
The third period had some nerve-wracking moments for the team as New Zealand extended their lead to 6-2, and it took some late stroke of inspiration by Atiq, Irshad, Mubashir Ali and Junaid Kamal to equalise 6-6.
“They displayed amazing sportsmanship, but still have to face tough teams like Spain and Australia,” said Zaman. “I have told them that their main focus should be the quarter-finals and beyond.”
Zaman added that they have to face Canada in the last-eight round on August 23, for which they have special training sessions planned for the team.
Meanwhile, Pakistani weightlifter Abdur Rehman lost the men’s 77kg event, finishing third-last after lifting 239kg, while the gold medallist lifted 319kg.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2014.
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