Australia, Pakistan stamp class in hockey
Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi starred with their attacking play
World champions Australia rode on a hat-trick by veteran full-back Luke Doerner to crush Scotland 9-0 in their opening Pool A match of the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday.
Pakistan, who lost to Australia in the 2006 Melbourne Games final, also showed top form, thrashing Malaysia 4-1 in the last match of the day at the Major Dhyan Chand stadium.
Doerner, returning to the side after missing Australia’s Champions Trophy triumph last month, slotted in the goals in the 14th, 38th and 60 minutes to give the defending champions a rousing start.
The world number one side were hardly tested by the 23rd-ranked Scots in the lop-sided encounter played in blistering heat at the near-empty stadium.
Chris Cirilello picked a brace, Rob Hammond underlined his class with a stunning reverse flick and Trent Mitton scored a field goal to give the Aussies a 5-0 lead at half-time.
Simon Orchard and Des Abbott added to the two goals scored by Doerner after the break.
It was at this very venue that the Aussies, coached by Ric Charlesworth, won the World Cup after 24 years by beating defending champions Germany 2-1 in the final.
Australian captain Jamie Dwyer said his team was looking forward to going home with the fourth gold medal on the trot.
“Every tournament that you go in, you want to win,” he said. “We have had a great 22 months and we want to finish off on a good note.”
Scotland’s Alan Forsyth hoped his team would bounce back despite suffering their second defeat in as many days.
“We are obviously disappointed,” he said. “But Australia are the number one team. We have to give them credit for the way they played.”
For Pakistan, experienced forwards Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi starred with their attacking play.
Muhammad Imran put Pakistan ahead in the 17th minute when he converted a penalty corner before Malaysia equalised off an Amin Muhamad Rahim drag-flick.
Abbasi made it 2-1 three minutes into the second half when he unleashed a powerful drive which caught the Malaysian goalkeeper by surprise.
The veteran centre-forward then set up Pakistan’s next goal, feeding a pass to Butt who tapped it into the right corner of the post.
Striker Muhammad Waqas then rounded off Pakistan’s scoreline with a field goal in the 65th minute.
In Pool B, England defeated Trinidad and Tobago 4-0 with striker Simon Mantell scoring two first-half goals.
Ashley Jackson (39th) and Alastair Brogdon (58) chipped in with a goal each as the minnows suffered their second defeat in the competition.
New Zealand posted a fine 4-2 victory against South Africa in a keenly-fought match.
The Black Sticks snatched the early initiative by hammering in two goals inside the first 10 minutes through Hayden Shaw and captain Phil Burrows.
South Africa fought back with striker Lloyd Jones-Norris scoring a field goal in the 15th minute for a 2-1 scoreline.
New Zealand, the world number seven, made it 3-1 just one minute later when 20-year-old forward Stephen Jenness scored a field goal while Nick Wilson netted one in four minutes from half-time.
The second-half saw South Africa make some attacking moves into the New Zealand circle and their efforts paid dividends when Justin Reid-Ross converted a penalty in the 64th minute.
But an alert New Zealand defence denied them further success.