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FIH Nations Cup: Pakistan lose to New Zealand in semi-final

Pakistan hockey team react during match against Canada. – Facebook/PakistanHockeyTeam

Pakistan have been bundled out with a 2-1 loss by New Zealand in the FIH Nations Cup semi-final in Gniezno, Poland, on Saturday.

From the beginning of the match, New Zealand set the tone of the match in their favour when Kane Russell threw the ball on a penalty corner into the net just two minutes into the game.

The early lead brought Pakistan under immense pressure as New Zealand were intent on playing up the pressure. Soon, they pulled off extending their lead when Smith Jake succeeded in the 11th minute with a field goal.

The setback shocked Pakistan as the 2-0 situation persisted by the end of the first quarter.

Hitting the ground for the next quarters, Pakistan made all-out efforts to turn the match in their favour. They succeeded to an extent as they managed to abort most of the attempts by New Zealand to boost their lead.

The two teams continued to surmount the other but the 2-0 situation persisted in the second and third quarters. However, the situation took a different turn when Pakistan upped the ante with Rana Waheed managing to find the back of the net with a field goal in the 55th minute.

The hopes of a potential equaliser sparked the attempts by Pakistan however in vain.

Now, Pakistan will clash with South Africa today with their eyes set on third place.

Meantime, France clinched a narrow 2-1 victory in the other semi-final against South Africa. South Africa’s Ntuli Nqobile led the goal race by scoring the first one in the 16th minute.

France, however, gave a tough fight and turned the tide in their favour with a spirited comeback in the last quarter. First, it was Baumgarten Gaspard who levelled the score with a field goal in the 54th minute.

With efforts mounted, they managed to get a crucial penalty corner which they translated into a goal in the closing minutes when the ball from Charlet Victor landed into the net in the 60th minute.

France will now take on New Zealand in the final today.

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