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London – Pakistan scored twice in the last six minutes to deny South Africa their first victory of the London Olympics in their Group A men's hockey clash on Sunday.
After taking the early lead, the South Africans did well to maintain their composure, with the Pakistanis fighting back throughout the first half.
However, victory was snatched from their grasp, in the dying stages as they went down in their third loss from four games in the tournament.
Thornton McDade got the SA men off to a good start, striking in the second minute as they gained control of the encounter.
Pakistan took 18 minutes to hit back, but they eventually equalised when Shafqat Rasool broke clear and offloaded to Abdul Haseem Khan who scored to draw the sides level.
South Africa fired back two minutes later with Justin Reid-Ross scoring from a penalty corner, but moments afterwards Khan was again in the thick of things, getting the ball to Rasool who levelled the scores.
With 11 minutes left in the first half, Pakistan took the lead for the first time when Shakeel Abassi was denied by SA goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse and Khan netted his brace from the rebound.
Drag flick specialist Reid-Ross was again on form, however, as he equalised from a penalty corner on the stroke of half-time to leave the sides level at 3-3 at the break.
The South Africans regained the lead three minutes into the second period when Wade Paton pounced on a rebound off Pakistan keeper Imran Shah to hit the backboard.
They held the advantage for nearly half an hour, with defender Andrew Cronje stretching to connect his stick with a tame effort from Rasool to keep the SA men in the lead.
Pakistan, however, hit back with six minutes left, with captain Sohail Abbas firing in a penalty corner, scoring the 348th goal of his international career.
Three minutes later Waseem Ahmad buried the winner, tapping in a strike to keep Pakistan in contention for a place in the semi-finals. – Sapa