Two goals inside three minutes late into the match saw Pakistan come from 4-3 behind to beat South Africa 5-4 in a thrilling Group A men’s Olympic qualifier at the Riverbank Arena at London 2012 on Sunday.
The result left South Africa at the bottom of the group with one point after four matches ÔÇô earned against Great Britain ÔÇô and left them searching for their first victory, which they’ll hope comes against Argentina on Tuesday.
There was early success as Thornton McDade found the back of the net after with just 97 seconds on the clock as South Africa came out with intent. Andrew Cronje was shown a green card after eight minutes which broke the momentum, but despite Pakistan shading the exchanges, Rassie Pieterse was forced into a good save, before Abdul Haseem Khan equalised on the stroke of 20 minutes. A minute later though Gregg Clark’s men forced a penalty corner and from it Justin Reid-Ross scored which restored South Africa’s advantage at 2-1.
The action swung from one end to the other and Pieterse was called upon to make another save, but the scores were again level in the 23rd minute when Sharfat Rasool netted. Pakistan were now looking the more dangerous and it came as little surprise when Khan gave them a 3-2 advantage in the 25th minute.
Julian Hykes came close as South Africa created an opportunity and Tim Drumond also missed before Reid-Ross leveled matters at 3-3 from another penalty corner on the stroke of half-time.
Immediately after the resumption the Proteas had another opportunity from a penalty corner but this time Reid-Ross was denied by the defense. However, they continued to pour on the pressure and it paid off in the 38th minute when Wade Paton netted to nudge them ahead 4-3.
Pakistan poured forward looking for the equalizer and forced a string of penalty corners and desperate defending but somehow South Africa held out and inside the last 10 minutes Lloyd Norris-Jones had a chance to extend the advantage. But Pakistan roared back, forced a penalty corner ÔÇô from which they scored ÔÇô in the 64th minute and then broke South African hearts in the 67th minute with the winner for 5-4.