Pakistan proved a tough opener for men's hockey

October 6, 2010

Scotland’s men opened their campaign in Delhi with a tough match against Pakistan and faced a barrage of attacking moves in the intense heat.

Coach Russell Garcia reviewed the match saying, “I think we’ve got a lot to look at from the game and plenty we can build on. We made a few mistakes but towards the end of the game we put together some nice combinations and we can move forward with that.”

Pakistan, silver medallists four years ago, pressurised the Scottish defence from the opening whistle and were 2-0 up at half time. The second half was a marked improvement for the Scots who lost to Canada but drew with New Zealand in last week’s warm-up games. Scotland created chances and forced the Pakistani’s to make some saves but the third goal from a penalty corner eight minutes into the second half, took the match beyond reach.

Garcia continued, “Pakistan played as we thought they would, we had watched them on video so there was nothing unexpected.”

Scottish Captain Chris Nelson was aware of the key elements lacking in their first group match. He said, “We didn’t value the ball as we should have when we had possession. We started to create chances at the end so we’re disappointed but have a big game to look forward to tomorrow.”

Reigning Commonwealth gold medallists and world number one Australia, are the opponents tomorrow and will present an even tougher challenge. It will be their first match of the competition so they’ll be out to show the rest of their group what they’re capable of.

Mark Ralph reached his 150th cap today and earlier in the week talked about the about facing such a quality side from down under. He said, “It will be a joy to play against Australia and really test ourselves. They are the best side in the world at the moment so it will be a great experience.”

Goal Keeper Alistair McGregor made his 100th international appearance today and Ross Stott, brother of team mate Niall, was awarded his 50th cap.

Meanwhile, the women battled hard against South Africa but lost out 2-1, Ali Bell the scorer for Scotland in the second half.

“Again we faced a team that is much higher ranked than us but the girls are a bit disappointed as they are playing well. We changed our tactics in the second half and that made a big difference. Everyone stepped up their performance and we put South Africa under a bit of pressure,” said coach Gordon Shepherd.

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