Lahore : After the last day’s 3 matches of the Premier League of the 63rd Zaitoon National Hockey Championships at Lahore’s National Hockey Stadium, top two teams from each of the four pools have qualified for the Super League which starts on Wednesday. 8 teams in Super League have been divided into two pools of four teams.
2 teams from each of Super League’s 2 pools will then play in the semifinals.
Matches played on Tuesday:
PIA beats Railway 2-1 (PIA: Haseem & Awiasur Rahman , Railways: Hamza )
,Police beats Port Qasim Authrority: 3-2 (Police: Sharjeel 3,PQA: Hanif Shahzad 2) Army beats HEC 3-0 (Army: Abbas, Jabbar & Awais)
Two Pools of the Super League:
Pool E: PIA, Railway, National Bank, Police
Pool F: WAPDA, SSGC, Army, SNGPL
Match Reports of Tuesday’s Matches:
Railways lose 1-2 to PIA; sufficient to carry them into Super League
PIA, the defending champions, were already through to the Super League. For the young Railways side, they had to avoid a defeat by two goals.
Slow pace was witnessed in the first quarter with very few circle penetrations. Railways’ skipper Usman had the best chance of the period but he couldn’t strike properly.
Railways tight marking of the opponents’ forwards was quite effective.
PIA, comprising mainly of the internationals of recent past plus a few current members of the national side, upped the tempo in the second quarter. Wasim Akram shot wide from circle’s top but PIA were soon ahead. In the 18th minute, Pakistan’s current captain Irfan sent a measured through ball into the circle. Haseem Khan ran into the space and flicked the ball on the run to break the ice.
PIA made many incursions into the opponents’ danger area but Railways’ deep defence was very solid. The railmen also had the first penalty corner of the game. Mohsin Bilal’s excellent reverse shot was superbly saved by diving Imran Butt, national team’s net minder.
The second half hour of the match began with the youngsters of Railways having the better of the exchanges and they were rewarded with the equaliser in the 37th minute. A fine right side move yielded ball to Hamza Waheed whose top of the circle flat hit found the corner of the board.
However, the airmen were again in the front after only four minutes. A combined sortie from the right side was put in by Awaisur Rahman standing close to the goal.
The last 15 minutes saw a midfield game with the two sides just passing the ball around most of the time. Perhaps, it suited both; preserving energy for the Superior League.
PIA: Haseem Khan (18′) & Awiasur Rahman (41′), Railways: Hamza Waheed (37′)
Police’ Sensational Entry into Super League with Last Minute Goal; Sharjeel’s Hat Trick Police: 3 Port Qasim Authrity: 2
Police vs PQA was a real edge of the seat contest. The cops needed a win while for the Port’s team a draw would see them into the Super League.
PQA were greatly handicapped by the absence of Ali Aziz (due to knee injury), the scorer of all the three goals in their win over PTV yesterday.
Still, they dominated the first quarter. The side with six under 18 internationals deservedly went ahead in the 13th minute via their fourth penalty corner (three came in succession). Hanif Shahzad scored with a fine grounder.
Police appeared a different side in the second quarter which saw an even battle. Chances and penalty corners were created by both the sides. It was 1-1 in the 20th minute when police scored off a PC. After receiving the ball on the top of the circle, the recipient gave a small pass to Sharjeel standing on his right. Sharjeel ‘s measured hit went into the right corner of the board.
PQA’s most experienced player, Pakistan’s former captain Shakeel Abbasi was playing the role of the schemer but he also wasted some good chances.
The absorbing contest continued in the third quarter. It was an end to end stuff. Now, police gained the lead. A swift move in the 40th minute, involving four men, was finished by Sharjeel. He had his second goal via a good shot from the right side of the circle. Within two minutes, PQA made it 2-2, again through a PC goal and again through Hanif Shahzad.
Tense battle was witnessed in the last quarter. PQA applied a lot of pressure in the earlier part.
Police bounced back . First Bilal Mahmood missed a sitter. In the 56th minute, Sharjeel’s goal on a rebound was disallowed on a review.
Despite the disappointment, Police persisted for the much needed goal. And with just 20 seconds left, they were awarded a penalty stroke when their striker, about to make an attempt, was felled by the PQA custodian.
Sharjeel with a high flick into the left corner, completed his individual hat trick (second of the tournament) and sent the police squad into celebration.
Police 3: Sharjeel (20′, 40′ & 60′), PQA 2: Hanif Shahzad (13′ & 42′)
Army Outplays HEC 3-0
In the last match of the premier league, HEC needed a two goal win over Army to qualify for the Super League, instead of their opponents.
Army had the services of Pakistan’s ace forward M.Rizwan Sr, who had rejoined them after playing in the Dutch League.
The first 15 minutes saw a fast paced pole to pole spectacle. Both the goal keepers were tested but it remained 0-0.
Surprisingly, the students couldnt keep up the pace with the soldiers in the second quarter. Army, who employed frequent and multiple substitutions, marshaled the field. Twice, their raids fetched goals.
In the 23rd minute, a wwll coordinated move was capped by Abbas, who had all the time in the circle for a grounder into the board.
A minute before the half time whistle, skipper Jabbar sent a high ball coming from left side attack into the cage, with his stick held in the air.
With two goals lead, Army were in quite a safe situation.
It was heartening to see the HEC rallying well in the third quarter. They were better of the two sides and had a couple of very good chances and a goal disallowed.
In the last quarter, soldiers’ fitness enabled to regain the upper hand. Army mainly controlled the proceedings and added another goal as well through Awais’ brilliant individual effort. He sprinted from the 23 metre line and on entering the circle, thundered the board with a rasping shot.
It was an easy win for Army in the end.
SCORERS: Army: (Abbas 23′ Jabbar 29′ & Awais 49′)