|December 13th, 2009|
|20||Final 1-2||4:30pm||NZL - PAK||4 - 2 (2 - 2)||Final||x 2|
Final – New Zealand v. Pakistan: 4-2 (half-time: 2-2)
Statistics between the two teams before this final (compiled by B.G.Joshi, Bhopal, India):
Matches played: 43 - Pakistan won 34, New Zealand won 4 - 5 draws
Goals for Pakistan: 149 - Goals for New Zealand: 65
Biggest Wins for Pakistan: 12-3 in 1982 World Cup in Mumbai
Biggest Wins for New Zealand: 7-1 in 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games
Last played: 2009 Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh: New Zealand won 2-1
The much expected Final between New Zealand and Pakistan, the top two ranked teams in the competition, started immediately at high pace. New Zealand had to concede a penalty-corner in the 7th minute, and Sohail ABBAS scored it dutifully although Kyle PONTIFEX got a piece of the shot. New Zealand replied with a penalty-corner of their own, using an option with Ryan ARCHIBALD deflecting on the post.
The game was back to square one and the initial nerves shaken. New Zealand then scored a sumptuous goal by Phillip BURROWS diving full length to deflect a cross from the left, then read well the second penalty-corner for ABBAS. Pakistan could not penetrate the compact New Zealand defense and tried to use long passes but they seldom came close enough to be dangerous, let alone win the coveted penalty-corner for ABBAS to officiate. It is finally in the last minute of the period that Rehan BUTT pounced on a ball in the crowded circle and acrobatically managed to shoot it out of reach of PONTIFEX.
Second half started under hot summer sun finally arrived over Salta. New Zealand were consistently dangerous upfront by Simon CHILD, Phillip BURROWS and Ryan ARCHIBALD, circulating the ball with speed and accuracy. Their best chance was for Nicholas WILSON, deflecting the ball from close range on the crossbar, but the score did not evolve. Pakistan had three additional unsuccessful penalty-corners then New Zealand scored two goals in quick succession in the last five minutes, first by Steven EDWARDS then Phillip BURROWS, both at the conclusion of fast offensive moves that swept away the Pakistani defense.
Sohail ABBAS missed another penalty-corner and New Zealand could soon celebrate their first Champions Challenge victory with their traditional haka.
The BDO Champions Challenge I concluded in Salta with the victory of New Zealand, now qualified for the 2010 Champions Trophy in Monchengladbach (Germany). Sardar SINGH (India) was voted Player of the Tournament and Kyle PONTIFEX (New Zealand) was distinguished as Goal-keeper of the Tournament. 104 goals were scored during the 20 matches, 8 of them by Top Goal Scorer Pedro IBARRA (Argentina). The Fair Play Trophy was awarded to Argentina.