Sport

Hockey: Ireland keep Olympic dream alive

Alan Sothern's goal from a penalty corner gave Ireland its first ever hockey victory over Pakistan Photograph: Frank Uijenbroek
Alex Sherwood

Hockey World League, Antwerp

Ireland 1 Pakistan 0

Ireland have beaten world number ten Pakistan for the first time ever to earn their place in the World League's 5th/6th place play-off on Sunday at midday.

A win on Sunday would give Ireland a great chance of qualifying for the 2016 Olympics once the remaining continental championships are completed.

The game got off to a tentative start with Pakistan enjoying the majority of the possession, a trend that remained for the match, but their route one tactic was dealt with every time by Ireland. Both teams struggled to settle into their rhythm and the half time score of 0-0 reflected the back and forth nature of the game.

Pakistan continued to dominate possession but Ireland appeared more clinical and structured on the ball. Clever usage of the video referral by Stephen Dowds won Ireland a penalty corner. An O’Donoghue dummy set up Alan Sothern who dragged it hard down the centre through the goalies legs, making it 1-0 to Ireland.

Ireland absorbed wave after wave of Pakistani attack and David Harte made arguably the save of his career, tipping the ball over the bar with two minutes left in the game.

 

Speaking after the game Harte said “We pride ourselves on our defensive base and when we got our chances we put them away today. Our Olympic dream is still alive so we’ll rest up and get ready for Sunday.”

On Sunday Ireland will face the winner of Malaysia vs France.

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