Pakistan clinch hockey series at Queensmead

2008-04-23 00:00

PAKISTAN beat South Africa 3-1 in the third Test at Queensmead in Durban yesterday to take a 3-0 lead in the U21 men’s hockey series with two Tests to play.

A poor rate of converting opportunities into goals cost SA once again. The first half saw SA strike eight shots on goal, but there was no return, albeit that Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Butt made a series of great saves and the post man turned away two certain goals from penalty corners.

SA also had six penalty corners to Pakistan’s five in the first half, plus they breached their opponents’ circle 13 times as against 11. Pakistan only had two shots on goal in the opening 35 minutes and botched three penalty corners, but they still netted the only goal of the first half, a second-minute drag flick by Muhammad Atiq from a penalty corner. Ali’s other on-target corner brought a brilliant save from SA keeper Vince Prior.

Pakistan struck again eight minutes after the break via a Kashif Ali penalty corner and with 20 minutes left, Pakistan skipper Shafqat Rasool finished off a stunning, trademark counter-attack involving a number of players running and passing at top speed down the right after SA had been fiercely on the offensive.

Duzo Khanyile pulled one back a minute later when he followed up his initial shot to net the rebound, but the bare facts of the match were: 10 SA shots on goal to Pakistan’s seven; seven PCs to five; and 23 circle entries to 21.

Those numbers should have yielded a better result for SA than defeat by two goals.

• Friday’s fourth Test has been moved from 4 pm to a 3 pm start due to load shedding, while Saturday’s fifth Test is at 4 pm.

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