Great Britain men got their FIH Olympic Qualifiers 2024 campaign off to a stellar start, thrashing Pakistan 6-1 in their opening Group A match in Oman.
Sam Ward (28', 41') starred with two, while Jack Waller (10'), Will Calnan (43'), Zach Wallace (52') and Nick Bandurak (57') scored a goal each in GB Men's dominant win. Hannan Shahid (50') scored the consolation goal for Pakistan.
GB started the match brightly as they worked a disciplined structure that allowed them to make spaces inside Pakistan's half. They earned back-to-back penalty corners in the 5th minute, but couldn't make much of it.
They pushed forward with their attacking intent and seized the lead in the 10th minute during a penalty corner routine. Waller, who made a quick run after injecting the ball, cleverly tipped it in front of the goalkeeper off Ward's low drag-flick to make it 1-0 for GB.
GB went on to earn their fourth penalty corner, but Pakistan averted the danger, denying their opponents from doubling the lead at the end of the first half.
GB started the second quarter in a similar fashion and earned their fifth penalty corner in the 17th minute, but missed out on converting it. They earned a couple of more penalty corners in the latter phase, but yet again missed out on capitalising on it to double the lead.
Pakistan, on the other hand, did manage to make circle entries with their quick counter-attack but consistently lost possession on their final touches.
With less than three minutes left in the second quarter, GB earned yet another penalty corner, but the Pakistani goalie saved Bandurak's high drag-flick. In a flash, Tom Sorsby fires a tomahawk inside the circle which was deflected by Ward into the goal, making it 2-0 for GB at the end of the first half.
Pakistan put up an improved performance both in attack and defence at the start of the third quarter. They made stunning saves to deny GB from extending the lead and also created various goal-scoring opportunities, however couldn't find an opening.
GB went on to add two more goals in quick succession in the closing stage of the quarter. Ward converted a penalty corner with ease in the 41st minute, while Calnan scored a stunning reverse field goal in the 43rd minute to make it 4-0 at the end of the third quarter.
GB had yet another penalty corner in the 48th minute, but couldn't add the fifth goal. Pakistan, meanwhile, managed to score their first goal through Shahid's field goal in the 50th minute.
GB responded immediately and scored their fifth goal through a penalty stroke which was converted by Wallace, making it 5-1 in the 52nd minute.
Pakistan had a series of penalty corners in the following minute, but some incredible saves from Ollie Payne kept the score at 5-1. GB scored their sixth and final goal as Bandurak got on the scoresheet in the 57th minute with a back post deflection. GB took control of the final minutes, ending the game with a massive 6-1 win over Pakistan.
GB Men will take on Malaysia in their second Group A match on January 17, 2024, at 16:45 UK Time, watch live on BBC Sport and red button.