Champions Trophy: Pakistan stun Netherlands

Champions Trophy: Pakistan stun Netherlands

Pakistan stunned Pool B winners the Netherlands 4-2 Thursday as their perfectly executed counter-attacks saw them put memories of a poor group stage firmly in the past with an excellent hockey Champions Trophy quarterfinal win.

It was their first win over the Dutch in the Champions Trophy in 12 attempts, a run dating back to 1998.

The Netherlands got off to a flying start with Jeroen Hertzberger powering home from mid-circle. His initial run had been half-stopped but the ball fell back into his path and he did the rest in the fifth minute.

Soon after, Muhammad Imran brilliantly saved a Mink van der Weerden drag-flick off the line as the Dutch dominated possession. But Pakistan were playing a clever counter-attack game which began to yield dividends.

Muhammad Waqas created the equaliser with his right wing work unlocking the door for Muhammand Tousiq to scramble home early in the second quarter.

Muhammad Rizwan Senior then drew a brilliant save from Jaap Stockman but the second goal for Pakistan did arrive a minute before the break when Imran fired low past the Dutch goalkeeper.

The Netherlands had more control after the big break and got their reward 38 minutes in when Rogier Hofman's driven cross from the right flank picked out Constantijn Jonker for a handy finish.

But Pakistan still had an ace up their sleeve and, from their most sustained spell of pressure, went ahead for a second time from a clever corner move, laying the ball into the path of Muhammad Irfan to flick high into the net.

Then, when the Dutch fluffed a corner of their own, Pakistan countered to win another set piece to which Irfan applied the killer touch.

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