CWG hockey: Australian men beat Pakistan, reach semi-finals

New Delhi, Oct 9 (IANS) Australia did just enough to ensure themselves a spot in the semi-finals of the men’s hockey competition at the Commonwealth Games by defeating Pakistan 1-0 for their third win, here Saturday.

With nine points in the kitty, the Aussies qualified from Pool A with a game against Malaysia in hand while Pakistan and India will fight it out for the second semi-final berth from this group.

The match-winner came in the 31st minute when Chris Ciriello converted a penalty corner, but coach Richard Charlesworth felt that his team should have won by a bigger margin.

‘We had some 17 to 18 shots at the Pakistani goal and they had just five or six. It speaks a lot for the way we played, but their goalkeeper (Imran Shah) made a lot of saves. I thought overall, Pakistan defended well,’ Charlesworth said.

Pakistan coach Michel van den Heuvel was far from pleased with his team’s performance, even blaming it on the conditions, which he said were difficult due to the intense mid-morning heat.

‘I am not happy with the way we played, but the circumstances were incredibly difficult,’ the coach said.

The match was scrappy and neither side got into a flow or rhythm as the oppressive heat seemed to get the better of the players.

Although both the coaches agreed that the scheduling and timing of the competition were far from satisfactory, the teams were helpless.

‘It is crazy to be playing in such heat and the medal matches are all scheduled for late morning. There is not much that any one of us can do,’ said Charlesworth.

With six points from three matches, Pakistan need to beat India Sunday in their last match to qualify for the semis. However, the hosts, although on three points, have two more matches in hand, including one against Scotland Saturday night.