Mantell late show sinks Pakistan
Great Britain 2-1 Pakistan
Great Britain made a solid start to their Owen G Glenn FIH Champions Trophy campaign by recording a 2-1 win over Pakistan in Auckland, New Zealand.
Pakistan went into half time with a 1-0 lead thanks an expertly dispatched penalty corner flick from Muhammad Imran, but Great Britain hit back shortly after the break when 34-year-old Mark Pearn scored his first Champions Trophy goal in ten years. The winning goal came from the stick of Simon Mantell, who volleyed home a penalty corner from close range with just five minutes of the match remaining.
The result puts the Brits level on points with Australia, who were winners in the first match of the day against Spain. Great Britain will look to continue their winning ways when the face Australia on Sunday, while Pakistan will take on a Spain side that was narrowly defeated by the Kookaburras earlier in the day.
The first half of the match was played at breakneck speed, with the action switching rapidly from one end to the other. Both sides saw early penalty corner efforts sail wide of the target, with Pakistan’s Muhammad Imran and Mark Gleghorne also going close with set piece efforts.
Pakistan took the lead with five minutes remaining in the first half. With legendary drag-flicker Sohail Abbas not on the field, the opportunity to flick at goal was given once again to Muhammad Imran who found the bottom left corner with a ferocious effort.
Great Britain almost found an equalizer before the break when 2009 FIH Young Player of the Year Ashley Jackson sent a penalty corner drag-flick arcing towards the top corner, but a solid save from Salman Akbar ensured that Pakistan would go into half time with their 1-0 lead very much intact.
The British team started the second half in fine form, and it seemed only a matter of time before they would pull themselves level. The equalizer arrived in the 42nd minute when Mark Pearn – a player who recently returned to international competition after a six year absence – found the goal from the tightest of angles. Although Pearn was the scorer, his goal was created by some superb build-up play by Jackson and 2010 FIH All Star Barry Middleton.
Pakistan’s best chance of the second half arrived in the 62nd minute of the game when Abdul Haseem Khan turned inside his marker and entered the circle, but his powerful reverse stick shot sailed fractionally over the crossbar.
The winning goal arrived in the 66th minute thanks to a penalty corner conversion from Simon Mantell. Although Mantell’s initial effort from the top of the circle was blocked, the striker was on hand to volley in from close range following a perfect pass from Ashley Jackson. The win will give Great Britain great confidence ahead of Sunday’s meeting with world champions Australia.
Great Britain - Pakistan 2-1 - Owen G Glenn FIH Champions Trophy Men 2011
> Great Britain came back from 0-1 down to beat Pakistan by a 1-goal margin like they did earlier this year at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup (3-2).
> GBR converted 1 of 6 penalty corners awarded. Pakistan scored from 1 of 4 PCs.
> Mark Pearn scored his first CT goal in 10 years. His last CT goal came on 11 November 2001 against Korea. Pearn is now on a total of 8 goals in the competition.
> 34-year-old Mark Pearn became the oldest CT goalscorer since Spain's Juan Escarré scored at age 35 in 2004.
> Simon Mantell scored his 4th CT career goal and his 2nd for GB. His previous CT goal for GB also came against Pakistan: 4-1 win in 2007.
> Muhammad Imran has now scored Pakistan's last 3 PC goals in CT competition. His previous two PC goals came in Pakistan's 3-2 win over Malaysia in the 2007 Final 7-8.
> Pakistan have won 8 of their 14 previous CT matches against Great Britain (8-2-3), outscoring the British 30-18.
> This is the first time both GB and Pakistan participate in a Champions Trophy tournament since Kuala Lumpur 2007, when GB finished 6th and Pakistan were ranked 7th.
> Their last CT encounter came at Lahore 2004, where Great Britain recorded a 4-1 victory over Pakistan.
> Pakistan’s last CT win over GB dates back to 1994 (4-1).
> In May 2011, Great Britain beat Pakistan 3-2 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. Pakistan finished second at this tournament behind winners Australia. GB finished third.
> Their last world level encounter came at the 2008 Olympics and saw GBR beat Pakistan 4-2 through goals by James Tindall, Robert Moore, Ashley Jackson and Matt Daly (GBR) and Shakeel Abbasi and Muhammad Waqas (PAK).
Great Britain Facts
> Great Britain make their 15th CT participation and their first since 2007, when they finished sixth.
> The team will hope to build on the success of the England team that finished second at the 2010 Champions Trophy. That result was the best finish for an English or British team at the Champions Trophy since 1985 when Great Britain finished second.
> Great Britain are the oldest team present at Auckland 2011 at an average age of 28 years and 8 days.
> They are four years oldest than Pakistan (24 years – 91 days) who are the youngest team at the 2011 CT.
> The GB squad includes 4 Champions Trophy debutants; George Pinner, Harry Martin and former Irishmen Iain Lewers and Mark Gleghorne.
> Former Irish National team players Lewers and Gleghorne have returned to international hockey this year after a 3-year absence and are now eligible to play for England and GB.
> 19-year-old Harry Martin is the only teenager on the GB squad and one of 6 teenagers participating at Auckland 2011, 4 of which are on the Pakistan team.
> Pakistan are ranked 9th in the world and are the lowest ranked team present at Auckland 2011.
> Pakistan have won the Champions Trophy 3 times and have collected 15 CT medals. Their last medal came in 2004 when they finished 3rd in Lahore.
> At an average age of 24 years and 91 days Pakistan is the youngest team at Auckland 2011.
> 16-year-old Muhammad Tauseeq is the youngest player at Auckland 2011 and one of four teenagers on the Pakistan team joining Muhammad Tauseeq (age 17), Syed Kashif Shah (18) and Ali Shan (18).
> Pakistan are on 393 CT goals and need 7 more to become the third team after Australia (484 goals) and Netherlands (475) to reach 400 CT goals.
> Sohail Abbas scored 40 goals in 41 Champions Trophy matches between 1998 and 2006. Only Dutchmen Taeke Taekema (45 goals) and Teun de Nooijer (42 goals) have scored more often in CT history.
> This is the first CT tournament since Lahore 2004 to see Abbas, Taekema and De Nooijer participate.
> Pakistan coach Michel van den Heuvel led the Dutch team to fourth place at the 2009 CT in Melbourne and to third place at the 2010 World Cup.
> After a disappointing 12th place finish at the 2010 World Cup, Pakistan enlisted Michel van den Heuvel to take charge of the team. Under his guidance the team won gold at the 2010 Asian Games and recently defeated world champions Australia in the final of the Tri-Nations series in Perth.