Pakistan two up but SA improve

2008-04-21 00:00

Pakistan earned a 2-0 second-Test victory over South Africa in the U21 men’s hockey match at Queensmead in Durban yesterday.

After Pakistan won the first Test 5-2 on Sunday night, this match was a more even contest with SA U21 showing improvement and enjoying a good second half.

"We had better structure, improved defence and fewer turnovers, but the problem that seems to affect all our hockey teams, the lack of killer instinct in goalscoring positions, meant we were unable to finish off the many chances we created," SA coach Kurt Cerfontyne told The Witness.

Trailing 1-0 at the break, SA needed something special, but chances went astray. The visitors began making inroads from just inside the SA half, the incomparable dribble wizard and Pakistan captain Shafqat Rasool running diagonally from right to left into the home side’s 22 before laying off.

Pakistan made it 2-0 after half-time through a Kashif Ali penalty stroke awarded by Pietermaritzburg-based international umpire Ayden Shrives.

SA controlled much territory and possession with great touches enthusing the crowd, Owen Mvimbi, Anthony Vervoort and Matt Botha having Pakistan at sixes and sevens at times.

The first half was characterised by turnovers, Pakistan winning the penalty-corner count 3-0. Duzo Khanyile and Taine Paton had their moments and there were other chances for SA.

The build-up held promise with captain Eugene Pelteret, Kevan Demartinis and an outstanding Dom Scott engineering a short-passing game from the back. This was in contrast to Sunday’s long-ball tactic, which played into Pakistan’s hands as they are masters of the fast break.

Unfortunately, Pakistan umpire Arshad Tanveer continued to baffle SA and of his three penalty-corner awards, at least two were dubious. The second PC brought Pakistan a goal via Muhammad Atiq.

The third Test is tomorrow at 4.30 pm.

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