Friday, 06 December 2013 22:15

Pakistan opened their World Cup quest against relatively unknown Egypt, the lowest ranked team in the competition. It only took them four minutes to take the lead by Muhammad Irfan, left unmarked on the post with plenty of time to pick up a penalty-corner rebound and slot it in goal behind Wael Noureldin in the Egyptian goal.

Pakistan appeared satisfied with this early lead and started playing with seemingly little urgency, keeping the Egyptians at bay and circulating the ball in midfield. They scored again in the 30th minute by Ammad Shakeel Butt and walked into the break with a modest 2-goal lead but a total grasp on the proceedings.

The same scenario prevailed in second period, with Egypt trying hard and Pakistan not forcing their talent to stay in control of the match. The Egyptians were rewarded for their tenacity in the 60th minute when their captain Ahmed Mohsen scored a well taken penalty-corner, closing the gap to one goal.

Egypt started to believe that they could level the score, while the Pakistanis had trouble shifting up their pace. Amazingly, the Egyptians forced another penalty-corner and once again slotted it cleanly through the Pakistani defence, this time by Mostafa Mansour! This equalizing goal triggered joyful scenes in the Egyptian camp, with all players on their knees kissing the turf.

This was obviously not the script that the Pakistanis were expecting, but they managed to score a deciding goal in the final minutes of the match by Muhammad Tousiq, salvaging the 3 points of the win, although their pride might have been dented by this narrow escape.

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