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Champions trophy hockey tournament: Belgium beat Pak 4-2

AHORE (APP) – Pakistan twice led Belgium but eventually lost 2-4 in their last match of the round robin stage of the Champions Trophy Hockey tournament at Breda, Holland.

Belgium were missing their first choice goal keeper Vincent Vanash. He had to rush home as his wife had gone into labour, said the information made available to APP by the Pakistan Hockey Federation here on Friday.

The green shirts made a good start; seemed to be carrying on where they left off in the last match against Argentina. They made incisive raids, had an open play chance and earned three penalty corners. Off the third PC, Aleem Bilal’s high flick found the right side of the net.

In the second quarter, Belgium, silver medalist from the 2016 Olympics and currently World No. 3, were decidedly a better side. They repeatedly entered the opponents circle and Pakistani net minder Imran Butt was called to make four saves. Belgium also earned three penalty corners but it ended 1-0 in Pakistan’s favour when the sides changed ends.

Third quarter was the most fascinating with fast pole to pole stuff. Three goals were scored in as many minutes.

In the 36th minute, a swift three men move starting from the Belgian half, culminated in skipper Thomas Briels beautifully side stepping Imran Butt before diving full length to slam the ball in.

Very next minute, Aleem Bilal put his side ahead again with another penalty corner conversion, carbon copy of his first goal.
Soon, it was 2-2. A Belgian build up from left saw Keusters deflecting the ball into the net from close range.

It was all to play for in the last 15 minutes. Belgium surged ahead for the first time by finally availing their fourth penalty corner. The injection wasn’t stopped properly in the circle. But after a couple of good passes, ball was put in by Cedric Charlier. Their fourth goal arrived courtesy a move starting from just outside the own 23 metres. An excellent long hit from Boccard reached Boon near the circle whose first time ball found Florent van Aubel in front of the goal who made no mistake. In fact, all the three Belgian field goals were scored from close range.

With three points, Pakistan finished at the bottom of the league. Now, they will figure in the 5th/6th position play off on Sunday.

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