Rio 2016: GB wheelchair rugby squad pipped by Canada
- Credit: PA WIRE
Overtime loss leaves hopes in the balance
ParalympicsGB suffered the narrowest of defeats in the wheelchair rugby competition in Rio as Canada scored in the dying seconds of overtime to take a 50-49 victory.
In an end-to-end battle, it was top seeds Canada who opened the scoring, but Jim Roberts and Ayaz Bhuta were instrumental in keeping ParalympicsGB – whose squad includes east London’s Bulbul Hussain – neck and neck with their rivals.
But with the scores level at 49-49, Trevor Hirschfield’s score with less than a second left on the clock in overtime settled the match.
ParalympicsGB had been 15-14 up at the end of the first period before Canada nudged in front 24-23 at half-time.
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The British players then enjoyed a strong third period to retake the lead 36-33, before their opponents rallied and led by a score heading into the final minute of normal time.
Bhuta’s 11th goal of the match then tied the scores, but the match then took another late twist with Hirschfield’s winner.
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It means ParalympicsGB have lost their opening two matches against Australia and Canada with a final group game against Brazil on Friday, while they have to rely on results elsewhere going their way to progress to the semi-finals.
Roberts, who top-scored with 21 goals, said: “At the last few majors when we’ve played against Canada they’ve got us just by one and for it to be in overtime is really disappointing.
“You can see how much it meant to the guys, we really put our heart and soul into doing well and coming home with that medal the public deserves because they’ve got behind us. We feel like we let people down.
“I think we should have scored that goal right at the end of normal time, it was always going to be tough in overtime.”