Ipoh: Australia brightened their chances of making the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup after crushing Pakistan 6-0 for their second consecutive win in the tournament, here Sunday. Australia proved too hot for Pakistan to handle as the world champions scored through Daniel Mirecki (8th minute), Matt Gohdes (9th minute), Jacob Whetton (19th, 34th minute) in the first half.
In the second half, two penalty corner conversions by Daniel Beale and Nicholas Budgeon in the 45th and 60th minutes respectively sealed the fate of the Asian giants. With wins over India and Pakistan, the Hockeyroos are well on course to seal a place in the final on March 17.
Australia began on an aggressive note, scoring twice in the space of two minutes and went up 4-0 by half time. In a fast-paced game, Australia drew first blood in the 8th minute after an aborted penalty corner scoring a field goal through Mirecki, who made good use of the opportunity arising out of a defence lapse.
Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Butt, who did well to block the penalty corner a minute before, was reduced to mute spectator this time. In the very next minute, Gohdes made it 2-0 for Australia after being put in possession by a short pass from Robet Hammond.
Jolted by the double reverse, Pakistan slowed down the game and in the 15th minute, a solo attack from the middle saw Muhammad Wagas on a fast run and he took a shot as soon as he entered the circle but the Aussie goalie was up to the mark thwarting with ease. However, Australia pumped one more in the 19th minute following a quick counter-attack where Whetton made no mistake after the initial spadework was done by Aran Zalewski.
He went on to increase the margin to 4-0 a minute before half-time, deflecting a long cross into the goal from near the spot. Australia continued to dominate the game in the second half and in the process earned five penalty corners to add to the one before the cross-over.
In the 45th minute, a push by Ghodes was perfectly set up by Tristan White and Nicholas Budgeon's flick was deflected into the goal by Beale. After wasting two more short corners, Nicholas sent a sizzling flick into the net in the 60th minute to brook no answer from the rival golie.