|December 10th, 2009|
|09||Pool B||12:00pm||PAK - RSA||4 - 1 (1 - 1)||Final|
There were high stakes in the first game of the day, Pakistan needing a win over South Africa to qualify for the semi-final! Pakistan pushed from the start but the first real chance was at the other end for South Africa with a penalty-corner. Soon after, Haseem KHAN received a long pass behind the defense, but could not unleash a shot before the defenders closed him down.
Pakistan maintained their pressure and forced a penalty-corner. While everybody was expecting Sohail ABBAS to officiate, they tried a combination on the left that they could not conclude. New comer Umar BUTTA, playing only in his third game for Pakistan, had a golden opportunity alone in front of the goal-keeper, but his strong shot was brilliantly saved by Brendon BOTES in the South African goal.
South Africa was keeping their composure in defense, even when they were reduced to ten players with a yellow card to Jonathan ROBINSON, and did not leave any time or room to the Pakistani forwards, reduced to try and force penalty-corners. It is finally on their third one that Sohail ABBAS managed to slot the ball in the top corner to open the scoring.
The onus was now on South Africa to score to maintain their chance to reach the semi-final; they pushed forward as soon as they were back at full strength and immediately forced another penalty-corner, but to no avail. They maintained play in the Pakistani defensive zone and were rewarded just before half-time when Lloyd NORRIS-JONES received the ball at the top of the circle and crucified Salman AKBAR in goal.
With the score tied, everything was back to square one in second half. South Africa opted to press high, preventing the Pakistani midfield to launch attacks. They were only creating danger through the long runs of Shakeel ABBASI but his passes were wasted by his teammates’ unforced errors. With time passing, play became rougher and both teams were showed yellow cards. It is finally only in the 49th minute that Shakeel ABBASI decided to conclude himself one of his actions to break the deadlock. Haseem KHAN added a penalty-corner soon after and things suddenly looked brighter for the Green Shirts.
After a fourth goal to Pakistan by Akhtar ALI, the deficit was too steep for South Africa to climb back and Pakistan earned their berth in the semi-finals on Sunday, albeit with a lackluster performance.