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Pakistan off to winning start in CWG hockey

Rehan ShakeelPakistan made a winning start to their campaign in the Commonwealth Games, thrashing Scotland 3-0 in their opening Pool A match here on Tuesday.

Shakeel Abbasi opened the scoring for Pakistan in the 20th minute before ace forward Rehann Butt slammed a goal from the top of the circle 10 minutes from half-time at a near-empty Major Dhyan Chand stadium.

Muhammad Imran made it 3-0 when he converted the first of the four penalty corners that Pakistan earned in the match in the 43rd minute.

Pakistan, who finished last at the same venue in the World Cup earlier this year, seemed to have left memories of that botched campaign firmly behind them as they took control of the proceedings right from the first whistle.

The defeated finalists of the 2006 Melbourne Games, Pakistan next face Malaysia before taking on hot favourites Australia and arch-rivals India.

Butt said his side was relieved to have crossed the first hurdle with ease.

“We are really pleased that we could start off with a victory,” the 30-year-old said. “We have some tough matches coming up against Australia and India and the win today will boost our confidence.”

Butt was disappointed with the poor attendance at the stadium Tuesday but hoped more people would turn up for Pakistan’s match against the home team.

“A player always gives his best when there is a good crowd to cheer the good moves. May be the early timings and the heat kept the crowd away. But I am sure there will be many who will come to watch us play India.”

In a Pool B match played earlier, New Zealand men spanked Trinidad and Tobago 7-1 with Andrew Hayward and Blair Hilton slamming in two goals each.

Hugo Inglis, Hayden Shaw and Nick Haig were the other scorers for the Black Sticks while Wayne Legerton netted the lone goal for Trinidad and Tobago. —AFP

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