Pakistan suffer their worst-ever defeat in hockey

KARACHI: Pakistan lost their opening match of the International Festival of Hockey against hosts Australia by a whopping eight goals in a 9-1 defeat at the State Netball and Hockey Centre in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Blake Govers scored a hat-trick, while Melbourne boy Aaron Kleinschmidt hit a double in the comprehensive win over Pakistan, who scored their lone goal via an Abu Mahmood strike in the 32nd minute.

Pakistan now face Japan on Thursday before facing New Zealand on Friday. The result sets up Australia for Sunday’s gold medal match ahead of Thursday’s meeting with New Zealand and the final group game against Japan on Saturday.

Pakistan skipper Muhammad Irfan expressed his dissatisfaction over the team’s performance. “We should have played better than this; we did in the Asia Cup but we were comprehensively defeated here,” Irfan told The Express Tribune. “We shouldn’t have conceded so many goals. We tried hard but not hard enough; we really need to get better in the upcoming matches. Japan are an easy team but we cannot take them lightly and not miss chances.”

Pakistan had the first opening of the game but Qadir Muhammad Arslan could only push his deflection wide.

Australia responded with two goals before the end of the first quarter, with Jeremy Hayward scoring from a penalty corner in the eighth minute.

Jake Whetton then doubled the Kookaburras’ lead four minutes later with a fine angled effort.

Australia keeper Tristan Clemons denied Mahmood from a penalty corner early in the second quarter, before Kleinschmidt made it 3-0 with a tidy finish on the turn.

Kleinschmidt, Tom Wickham and Matt Dawson were all denied before half time as Australia piled on the pressure, but Pakistan pulled a goal back shortly after the break when Mahmood scored from a penalty corner.

At 3-1, Pakistan may have been fancying their chances but Australia responded immediately through Kleinschmidt, before Govers made it 5-1 with a goal from a penalty corner in the 43rd minute.

Arunasalam added the sixth after some good lead-up play by Kleinschmidt, with Govers grabbing two final quarter goals to complete his hat-trick. There was enough time left though for Wickham to also get on the scoresheet.

This is also Pakistan’s worst-ever defeat in hockey, eclipsing their previous 9-2 drubbing at the hands of Holland.

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