Champions Trophy: Great Britain's men fight back to win opener

Champions Trophy

Venue:
Auckland, New Zealand
Date:
3-11 December, 2011
Coverage:
Watch live on liveFIH.tv, highlights (UK users only) and reports on BBC Sport website
Simon Mantell scores the winner for Great Britain

Great Britain's men made a winning start to their Champions Trophy campaign as they came from behind to beat Pakistan 2-1 in Auckland.

Muhammad Imran gave Pakistan the lead, flicking a fierce shot inside the right post from a penalty corner.

But goals from veteran Mark Pearn and forward Simon Mantell in the second half sealed the victory for Britain.

World champions Australia, Britain's main rivals in Pool A, began their defence with a 3-2 win over Spain.

The Champions Trophy sees eight of the world's best teams invited to face each other and sits behind the Olympics and World Cup in terms of importance.

England, who lost to Australia in the final of last year's event, are playing as part of a combined British team this year as the event in New Zealand is the last official world ranking tournament before next year's Olympic Games in London.

Pakistan started the brighter of the two sides, with captain Imran giving them a well-deserved lead, but they missed a host of chances to pull away.

Great Britain were more clinical in the second half, captain Barry Middleton combining with Ashley Jackson to set up Pearn for the equaliser.

The 34-year-old, who came out of international retirement in 2011 after six years away, produced a tidy finish before Read forward Mantell secured the three points.

"It was great to see so many positives for so many individuals today," said coach Jason Lee.

"Ben Hawes was back in a major tournament for the first time after injury.

"Mark Gleghorne and Iain Lewers both played in their first Champions Trophy matches and Mark Pearn has scored his first Champions Trophy goal in 10 years."

Great Britain face Australia, who are considered to be one of the strongest candidates for a gold medal at London 2012, in their second Pool A match on Sunday.

Hosts New Zealand play Germany in Pool B on Saturday, while South Korea face the Netherlands.

Top Stories