Jr. Hockey: Pakistan blank South Africa in 9-12 play-offs

New Delhi, Dec 12: Pakistan hammered South Africa 4-0 in the 9-12 classification match at the Hockey Junior World Cup here Thursday.

Both teams traded pockets of possession with neither looking too threatening in the circle.

A South African missed assignment in the 8th minute resulted in Muhammed Dilber being left wide open at the far post. Dilber put the fore-hand deflection on target after a hard hit from 45 yards out to lift Pakistan 1-0 entering the break.

South African’s best chance of the half came in the 19th minute when captain Dylan Swanepoel made a key interception off a Pakistan aerial and eventually earned a penalty corner. Matthew Brown’s resulting drag flick was saved by keeper Mazhar Abbas, protecting Pakistan’s one-goal edge at half.

South Africa opened the second frame with a penalty corner but missed the trap completely, allowing Pakistan to regroup. Soon after Ammad Shakeel Butt opened the gap for Pakistan scoring two goals in two minutes.

Uhammad Umar Bhutta sent a perfect pass from the right side for Butt to turn and put away on his back hand in the 41st minute. Butt earned his second on a well-executed corner, propelling Pakistan ahead 3-0.

South Africa showed good possession play but continued to be stymied at the edge of the circle by the Pakistan defence. Pakistan’s speed continued to open the game up and a quick passing sequence in the circle allowed Muhammad Irfan to score at the far post for the team’s fourth goal.

With the win Pakistan will move on to face the winner of the Argentina-India game to challenge for ninth, while South Africa will play the loser for 11th.

IANS