Field Hockey Canada > Last minute Pakistan goal ends thriller in Birmingham

Sarmento scores a pair in a thrilling fourth quarter defeat

Two goals off the stick of Matt Sarmento wasn’t enough this morning in Birmingham, as Pakistan scored a last-minute field goal to earn the 7th place victory. It was a rematch of last Commonwealth Games 7/8 match. Canada’s eighth place finish matches their 2018 Gold Coast performance.


The first quarter was a feel-out quarter as the two teams jockeyed for control and possession. Pakistan got on the board first with a field goal from Abdul Rana in the second quarter, in the 24th minute. They kept the forward momentum and immediately earned a second field goal in the 25th. What could have been a disastrous end to the half, turned into a momentum builder as Canada responded with an offensive flurry of their own.

Canada’s offense finally broke through in the last five minutes of the half. Canada earned multiple penalty corners, with Matt Sarmento cashing in on a set piece in the 26th minute. It was a pressure release after solid offensive play and attacking control. Canada kept the pressure on and earned a penalty stroke with almost no time on the clock. In his 200th career appearance for Canada, Keegan Pereira stepped up to the spot and banged it in.

From the push of the ball in the second half, this was an even fight. Teams alternated chances, both earning PCs along the way. Pakistan held the possession advantage, but Canada held the PC advantage. After a scoreless third quarter, finally Pakistan broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute as Umar Bhutta buried a field goal.

Canada pulled the keeper in the 56th minute and brought the full assault earning corner after corner in the final minutes of play. After several efforts from the top of the circle, Team Canada scored the tying goal with two minutes left on the clock. It was Matt Sarmento finishing off another set piece penalty corner as he had done near the end of the first half.

The score line remained tied for all but a minute. Pakistan’s Abdul Shahid scored the back breaker in the 59th minute of play. A last-ditch effort and a pulled keeper in the final minutes wasn’t enough this time as Canada fell in dramatic fashion to finish their Commonwealth Games campaign.

Canada’s developing team with a core of stalwarts like Pereira, Sarmento, Taylor Curran and John Smythe will return to Canada with eyes on the upcoming Olympic cycle and qualification series. These valuable international matches will pay dividends, especially for the youth and new members of the team, moving forward.