|November 3rd, 2009|
|09||Round-Robin||3:30pm||FRA - PAK||2 - 4 (1 - 2)||Final|
Before the last game of the day, Malaysian umpire Amarjit SINGH and French Captain Matthieu DURCHON were both honored for their 150th international Cap.
The rain and wind had abated just before the opening whistle, and this important game started at full speed, with the first opportunity for Frédéric SOYEZ after a counter-attack by Matthieu DURCHON, but he could not adjust his shot on goal. Unfortunately for the expecting crowd, Pakistan promptly forced a penalty-corner; they could not control it but the ball came to Akhtar ALI, left alone in the circle, and he made no mistake to open the scoring.
The goal took the wind out of the French sails and a period of intense Pakistani domination followed. France tried to react, but they were not incisive enough to shake the experienced Pakistani squad. They were unsuccessful on a series of three penalty-corners however Frédéric SOYEZ was in the right place a few minutes later to pounce on a loose ball and tie the game in the 23rd minute.
Pakistan took back the lead soon after by an unstoppable flick by Sohail ABBAS on penalty-corner and the match continued back and forth, keeping the fans well entertained and often on the edge of their seats. Sohail ABBAS scored again early in the second period to establish a comfortable lead, but the French were not deterred and nearly closed the gap after a swift combination between Frédéric SOYEZ and Matthieu DURCHON.
Frédéric SOYEZ forced a penalty-corner in the 50th minute after some strong work by Max LANOS in midfield, but Salman AKBAR in the Pakaistani goal managed to save the flick from his top corner. The French continued to push forward but were not always inspired in their choices, or successful in their finishing touches. Pakistan were more efficient at the other end and Rehan BUTT made no mistake on a ball that found him alone behind the defense of Les Bleus in the 55th minute.
The French pushed desperately in the last ten minutes to salvage some pride. They added a goal by Arnaud BECUWE, after Frédéric SOYEZ hit the post on another penalty-corner, but it was too little too late and Pakistan cruised to their third win of the competition, leaving the French with a complicated situation to reach the Final on Sunday.