LAHORE - Australia outlasted Pakistan juniors 3-1 in the Sultan of Johor Cup U-21 Hockey final played in Johor Bahru, Malaysia on Sunday.

According to Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) spokesman, Pakistan team gave an excellent fight to the top-ranked Australia, which had beaten the green shirts 8-1 just two days back in the round robin. The first half of the final was very well contested as the green shirts surprised everyone, when they went ahead in the seventh minute through the first penalty corner. Instead of Pakistan's regular striker Abu Bakr, who was their top scorer in the event with four goals, it was 6'3" tall Hassan Anwar who took it. His fast high flick on goal keeper's left side was unstoppable.

Australia replied in the similar manner within six minutes, as Gerrard Frazer's penalty corner conversion was almost a replica of Hassan Anwar's effort. After that, the game's tempo went up as Australians started attacking. Although Pakistan’s defence was looking good yet a melee in Pakistani circle resulted in Australia's second penalty corner in 32nd minute. Goalkeeper Muneeb brilliantly palmed it away with an outstretched left arm as the first half ended at 1-1.

The first 15 minutes of the second half were dominated by the Aussies, who repeatedly entered the opponents' circle. Three more penalty corners came their way and on the fifth of the day, the penalty corner hit stuck Pakistani line stopper's foot. The resultant penalty stroke was cashed in on by Blake Govers and Australia were 2-1 ahead in the 47th minute.

Pakistan's sporadic attacks did create a few chances including their second penalty corner of the day but Australian deep defence kept the lead intact. With just four minutes left, Blake Govers' second goal, off a penalty corner, sealed Pakistan's fate. Pakistan should take a lot of heart from their splendid performance here. They had never finished above fourth place at any of the five previous editions of Sultan of Johor Cup. In the last two events, they were last sixth but this time, Pakistan played the final. Such positive results could not have come at a better time - just four weeks before the Junior World Cup.