Rio Olympics dream is still alive for Ireland

Alan Sothern getting tackled Muhammad Toseeq
Alan Sothern getting tackled Muhammad Toseeq

Ireland men’s hockey team moved a step closer to the 2016 Olympics with a 1-0 victory over Pakistan in the World League tournament in Antwerp.

Alan Sothern scored the only goal in the first minute of the fourth quarter to book Ireland’s place in Sunday’s fifth-place play-off.

Victory against Malaysia will boost the Irish team’s chances of reaching next year’s Games in Rio.

Ireland goalkeeper David Harte made a number of crucial saves late on.

Pakistan spurned a number of open goal opportunities in the first quarter and the Irish struggled in the second quarter with only 4% possession.

With chances limited, Ireland worked a good set piece and Sothern scored from a penalty corner at the the start of the final quarter.

Ireland survived a late scare when a Pakistan shot was deflected wide with 42 seconds remaining.

Net minder Harte said: “We pride ourselves on our defensive base and when we got our chances we put them away today. Our Olympic dream is still alive so we’ll rest up and get ready for Sunday.”