BEIJING - On the eve of its Independence Day, Pakistan was made to sweat before it scraped a 3-1 win against a bottom of the pile side, Canada. So overwhelmed was the Pakistan camp that almost everyone was jumping with joy, as if it has grasped an Olympic medal. It was understandable. After all three points at this point were indeed like gold dust for the greenshirts as at the least it kept the hopes of greater things alive. Not that the enormity of the challenges ahead has diminished now, but shaking and nervous Pakistan at least hangs in there. And a loss would have meant curtains. Period. That is one reason why regardless of the margin, the victory was precious. And Khawaja Zakauddin, Pakistan manager and chief coach, in his post-match talk with this scribe, summed it up rather nicely: "I would have given an eyeball for these three points". Quite predictably, Pakistan started off with aggressive intent. A short corner was gained and squandered in the very first minute. Then there were a slew of attempts on the Canadian citadel but more than Canadian 'keeper Michael Mahood's skill or grit under the bar, it was our forwards' lack of finesse in finishing that caused them grief. Shakeel Abbasi dribbled right to the goalmouth only to slam it into Mahood, Rehan Butt shot one wide from the right; a place hit from right outside the circle was botched; then Abbasi yet again failed to get his shot past the goalie. This was not all. With the goal in sight, Muhammad Zubair and Shafqat Rasool too got it wrong. It seemed as if the entire Pakistan forward-line had lost its scoring touch simultaneously. Canada's only claim to have done anything of note in this Games was sneaking in a goal against Australia, not to mention conceding half a dozen. Pakistan had not allowed them much of a look-in into its half for the first 10 minutes, but this was to change thanks to erratic shooting. Canada increasingly found its feet and started making sallies towards the Pakistan goal. One of these got them a penalty corner as the hooter sounded for the first half and Bindi Kullar rammed it home from a rebound. Going into the break, Pakistan had the mortification of facing deficit instead of being way ahead. It is not a point of conjecture what coaches Zaka and Naveed Alam would have told the boys. Not the fine tactical details, surely. Whether some choice Punjabi expletives were hurled is not known, but whatever the duo did, it worked. Barely four minutes into the second half, Pakistan got two goals that were only seconds apart - the first from a penalty corner conversion by specialist Muhammad Imran and the second by Shafqat Rasool, from a Muhammad Saqlain pass that for a moment seemed too long, back-slapping it so hard that there was no stopping it before it nearly tore the top of the net. This double power-packed conversion gave Pakistan a new wind and though it brought some method in the approach work, the goals still eluded them. The cycle of unforced errors in defence had started creeping in when on a counter-attack Muhammad Waqas in a most deft manner dribbled round the rushing Mahood and slotted the ball into the empty goal to make it 3-1 in the 57th minute. By now the drift was in Pakistan's favour, and the relief in the Pakistan camp was quite palpable. Pakistan surely dominated the second half, but pleased as the think tank was at this reprieve in terms of a good result, it definitely would need to focus on the lapses in defence and errors up-front. Any frontline opponent, like Australia that it faces on August 15 and Holland, would have exploited these to expose them to the point of humiliation. There is serious work to be done to lift this Pakistan outfit from its bootstraps, and it would surely keep the management engaged on the break on this Pakistan Day.