LAHORE - World No 18 Pakistan started their Europe Tour campaign on a high note as they routed World No 4 Netherlands 5-3 in the first of the two matches at Breda on Tuesday.

According to information made available here by Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), Pakistan got off to a flying start in the match as they took lead in the first quarter with Ejaz scoring a scintillating goal. However, the Netherlands bounced back as they scored two back-to-back goals to get a 2-1 lead.

In the third and fourth quarters, Pakistan team played aggressively that helped them not only take the lead but also win the match by 5-3. Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan put up a splendid show as he scored three goals, while Mubbasher Ali and Ejaz scored one goal apiece. The victory was encouraging for a Pakistan side, whose seven players debuted against a strong Netherlands team. The national hockey team is accompanied by Olympian Team Manager Khawaja Junaid, Head Coach Siegfried Ackman, Assistant Coach Wasim Ahmed, Drake Flicker Koucherchard Snitcher and Goalkeeper Coach Bob John Weldeff.

Pakistan hockey team manager Khawaja Junaid Ahmad said: “Our national team is in rebuilding process and seven of our players made debut during the first match against the Netherlands. Thanks to Almighty the boys played really well and we remained lucky that the boys converted the all the attempts successfully that led us to a convincing win in the first encounter against Holland. This experience will help the youngsters in the coming events against the big hockey-playing nation. But still there were some mistakes and we will try to remove them and improve the game and skills of the boys.”

Pakistan team head coach Siegfried Ackman said: “First of all, we played very good match. We started well and continued to play well. Although there were some mistakes in the first two quarters but the boys continued to dominate in the third and fourth quarters and emerged as triumphant due to their sensible game and team work. The boys have talent and potential and they need to play more international matches to grow further. They are bound to excel if they are given due facilities, international exposure and financial boost as these are the ingredients that can help Pakistan hockey regain its lost glory.”

Pakistan will play their second match against the Netherlands on today (Wednesday) at the same venue. Then on Thursday, they will attend a training session in Belgium and play their only match against Belgium on Friday. The Pakistan hockey team will then leave for Spain on May 1 to play a three-match series against hosts Spain. All the three matches of the series will be played in Barcelona on May 2, 3 and 4. Later on May 5, the national hockey team will fly back home.