Captain Sohail Abbas and Waseem Ahmad scored late goals to give Pakistan a 5-4 comeback win over South Africa in the Olympic men’s field hockey tournament on Sunday.
The win in a match which featured four lead changes moved Pakistan into third place in its group, level with Australia and Britain, who play each other later Sunday.
In other matches, South Korea defeated India 4-1 with three late goals, and Belgium and New Zealand drew 1-1, meaning neither team will advance to the knockout round.
South Africa opened the scoring in the second minute with a field goal by Thornton McDade and Pakistan’s Abdul Hasseem Khan equalized in the 20th minute.
Justin Reid-Ross put the South Africans back in front but Khan put Pakistan ahead again with a goal in the 25th minute.
Reid-Ross’ second goal and another by Wade Paton gave South Africa a one-goal lead before Pakistan’s late scoring surge.
“It was a great match and we had a plan that if we could win that match, we would have a chance to reach the semis,” Khan said. “We played our best and at the beginning there was quite a lot of pressure but at the end we played well.”
Pakistan has to beat No. 1-ranked Australia on Tuesday to advance to the semifinals.
Eight-time Olympic champion India has not taken any points from its four games in London. The scores were level with 11 minutes to go after early goals by Jang Jong-hyun of South Korea and Gurwinder Singh Chandi for India.
But two goals from penalty corners by South Korea defender Nam Hyun-woo and one by captain Lee Seung-il gave the team the late victory.
South Korea has little chance of advancing, while India is out of semifinal consideration.
Balbir Singh, who won gold with India’s field hockey team in the 1948 London Olympics and twice after, was watching the game.
“(We are) sorry we could not get a win for him,” said Chandi. “We will be meeting him after the game. We have a lot of respect for him.”
Belgium took the lead over New Zealand with a 48th-minute field goal by Tom Boon, but Nicholas Wilson equalized six minutes later.
Belgium was the stronger side, with 18 chances at goal compared to New Zealand’s eight.
“It’s a little bit frustrating for us, we wanted to come and win,” said Belgium coach Colin Batch. “It’s become a bit of a theme for us that we play well for periods of the game but don’t manage to finish.”
In other matches Sunday, reigning Olympic champions Germany plays the Netherlands and Argentina takes on Spain.