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Sunday, 4 August, 2002, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK

Pakistan cruise to bronze

Pakistan 10-2 South Africa

Penalty corner expert Sohail Abbas showed his class as Pakistan comfortably claimed the hockey bronze medal.

He drag-flicked five out of five penalty corners, and was the difference between the sides as he moved on to 171 international goals in only 138 games.

But he missed the chance to claim a sixth as a penalty stroke with a minute to go crashed back off the crossbar before the keeper had chance to move.

Abbas' nap hand was the best individual performance at the Games and took him second in the top scorers list with nine from five games.

After a good start against England, Abbas has been relatively quiet.

But he rediscovered his form just in time to save his side further embarrassment following their shock 7-1 hammering by New Zealand in the semi-final.

The first went in after just 11 minutes - an 85mph-plus rocket into Chris Hibbert's top left-hand corner - before Muhammad Nadeem added a second moments later.

"The players are trying to win back their pride but it will take time"
Pakistan coach Tahir Zaman

Gregg Clark pulled one back from a 25th-minute South African penalty corner and the Springboks were right back in it when Emile Smith forced in another set-piece.

Abbas then stepped up to flick one high and one low in the space of two minutes as Pakistan led 4-2 at half-time.

He added a further two after the break with Mudassar Khan, who had earlier missed a penalty stroke while Abbas was off the field injured, Kashif Jawad,Ghazanfar Ali and Muhammad Shabbir all getting on the scoresheet.

Pakistan coach Tahir Zaman paid tribute to the efforts of Sohail.

"Sohail is our strength. He is our weapon - secret and open as well - and we are using him as much as we can," said Zaman.

"He is one of the best flickers in the world and when he is in good touch he scores goals for the team."

Zaman said the bronze medal would help his team bounce back from their shock 7-1 semi-final trouncing by New Zealand.

"(The New Zealand game) was a wake-up call and I am very happy with the boys," he said.

"They do have the capabilities to display very good hockey and that is what they showed today.

"The players are trying to win back their pride but it will take time."


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