Kookas hand a draw to Pakistan

LIFE after Grafton’s Brent Livermore continues to be tough for the Kookaburras.

They have blown a huge lead over Pakistan, drawing 5-5 overnight at the Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia. The draw comes despite the Kookaburras leading by two goals with only nine minutes remaining and at one point leading 4-1 in the early stages of the second half.

The Kookaburras looked in complete control in the opening stages of the match, however they didn’t get reward for their effort until the 11-minute mark when Tim Bates scored a field goal.

While they were unable to convert consecutive penalty corner attempts at the 14-minute mark, their dominance was soon reinforced when Grant Schubert scored their second goal after 17 minutes to put Australia up 2-0.

Pakistan reduced the deficit in the 21st minute when Muhamad Rizwan weaved past the Australian goalkeeper Ross Meadows to score from an acute angle.

However Australia regained their two-goal advantage when Chris Ciriello scored off their third penalty corner attempt in the 26th minute.

Ciriello scored his second goal of the match in the 40th minute to set up what seemed like an unbeatable 4-1 lead.

However against the run of play, Pakistan reduced the deficit to 4-2 when Irfan and Rizwan combined well to pierce open the Australian defence, with Irfan having the final touch to score in the 53rd minute.

When Pakistan converted their first penalty corner of the match at the 58 minute mark they were well and truly back in the match. Their efforts seemed to be in vein when Schubert converted his second goal of the match and Australia’s fifth at the 61- minute mark.

However two goals in the final nine minutes, including one with less than a minute to go on the clock, saw Pakistan draw the match and leave the Kookaburras wondering how they let the match slip away.

The Kookaburras now sit fourth on the points table with two matches remaining. Their next match will be against Korea on Thursday 13 May.

Australian coach Ric Charlesworth axed veteran Livermore despite his near-record appearance tally.

Kookaburras 5 Pakistan 5

(3-1 half time)Goals – Aus Bates 11m FG, Aus Schubert 17m FG/ 61m FG, Pak R. Muhammed 21m FG, Aus Ciriello 26m PC/ 40m PC, Pak I Muhammad 53m FG, Pak Imran Muhammad 58m PC/ 69m PC, Pak Umar 64m FG

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