Tuesday, 10 December 2013 20:26

With final standings still very much in the air before this last game in the group, pace of play was immediately intense. Pakistan seemed in a better frame of mind than in their initial matches and pushed Belgium back on their heels in the initial fifteen minutes of the match. They could however not really threaten Arnaud Flamand in the Belgian goal and play became balanced, with teams neutralizing each other in midfield.

Frustration started to show on both side at the end of the period and the teams went into the break back to back and goalless.

Pakistan finally overwhelmed the Belgian defense in the 41st minute when Muhammad Dilber inherited the ball with his back to the goal but still managed to deliver a lethal shot to open the scoring. Pakistan had a chance to increase their lead on the following action, forcing a penalty-corner, but the high flick was deflected by the keeper.

The scare seemed to put some urgency in the Belgian play and it was soon Pakistan’s turn to be confined in their defensive zone. They nevertheless increased their lead in the 54th minute, by Muhammad Faisal Qadir at the conclusion of a swift counter-attack that swept the whole pitch in three quick passes.

Things were looking bleak for Belgium and they tried desperately to come back in the game. They closed the gap in the 60th minute when Maxime Plennevaux stole a pass from a defender, turned on the spot and blasted a backhand shot high in the corner. Momentum was now for Belgium and Plennevaux scored another spectacular goal, escaping his marker in the circle and managing a diving shot that left Mazhar Abbas stranded in the Pakistani goal.

The last minute draw pushed Belgium to the top of Pool A in front of Germany, sending Pakistan to the bottom pat of the draw for the second part of the competition.

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