Holders PIA to meet NBP in final of national hockey

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APP73-03 LAHORE: January 03 - Players of National Bank and SSGC hokey teams struggling to get hold on the ball during semi final of Inter Departmental Hockey Tournament at National Hockey Stadium. National Bank hokey team won the match. APP photo by Rana Imran

LAHORE, Jan 3 (APP): Defending champions, PIA set a showdown with arch rivals National Bank of Pakistan in the final of the 63rd Zaitoon National Hockey Championships after winning their respective semi finals here on Tuesday at National Hockey Stadium.
In the first semi final, PIA struck two goals in space of two minutes
in the last session of the play against Wapda to change the entire complexion of the game to ensure a firm 6-4 win after being locked at 4-4.
In the second encounter on a cold and dump day, NBP beat Sui Southern Gas Company 2-0, with a good brand of controlled hockey.
The final will be played tomorrow, Wednesday at 2 pm and Punjab Governor, Rafiq Rajwana will be the Chief Guest on the occasion.
The fiercely contested first half saw tempers flaying in the match
between PIA and Wapda . The umpires had a tough time and cards were flashed including three yellow (each for five minutes suspension).
The half ended 1-1 though Wapda had more of the play and chances. PIA’s goal came off a penalty corner variation in the 6th minute, Zubair standing close to the right pole easily put the ball in. Wapda equaliser arrived in the 18th minute. A well measured ball from Ejaz into the circle was first timed by Rana Umair into the board.
Wapdan were off to a flying start in the second half. Ejaz had a brace
within the initial five minutes. After a captivating passing move, Ejaz hooked the ball into the net standing close to the goal. A little later, he collected a long aerial pass and his hit found the target via net minder Imran Butt’s pads to score a easy goal.
Two goals down, the airlines made a remarkable recovery with a rare
guard action, scoring three goals in a five minute spell. In the 38th minute, Kashif Ali beat the goal keeper with a flat and fast push in the right corner off the a penalty stroke. In the next minute, it was 3-3. Shafqat Rasool sored superb shooting the ball into the net. In the
43rd minute, another penalty stroke was availed by Kashif Ali to take airlines 4-3.
More drama was left in this sensational quarter as Wapda netted the
equalizer at 4-4. Asad Shabbir’s reverse hit was padded by the custodian and veteran Waseem netted off the rebound.
PIA went ahead via their fourth PC by Kashif and it was all over for
Wapda when PIA made it 6-4 in the 54th minute through Shafqat Rasool with a tomahawk from the top of the circle.
Match’s chief guest legendary batsman Zaheer Abbas must be a pleased man to see PIA going to the final as he played for PIA’s cricket team for a number of years.
Chairman Steering Committee Sports Punjab, Hanif Abbasi Hanif Abbasi was the chief guest during the second semi final between NBP and SSGC and both the teams were introduced to him. Also present was Secretary, Pakistan Hockey Federation, Shahbaz Ahmad Senior.
After a cagey first five minutes, a swift move initiated by Atiq was
well finished by Dilber and the NBP were in front. SSGS’s promising teenager Adeel, after a mesmerizing dribbling run saw his try on the goal saved by the custodian. But in the 35th minute the bankers doubled the lead. They raided from right flank. The initial attempt was
padded away by the goal keeper. Ammad Butt pounced on the rebound to make it 2-0.
NBP with a number of players from Pakistan’s under 21 squad were well in control for the remainder of the time without increasing their account.