By Sohail Ali
LAHORE, Feb 06 (APP): Lahore and Faisalabad reached the final of First Quaid-e-Azam Inter-Division Hockey Championship 2021 after winning their respective nail-biting semifinals at National Hockey Stadium on Saturday.
Lahore defeated Sargodha by 6-5 on sudden death while Faisalabad beat Bahawalpur by 3-2 to reach the final. The title clash of the 9-team tournament will be played on February 9 (Tuesday) at the National Hockey Stadium.
Director General Sports Punjab Adnan Arshad Aulakh along with Director Sports Hafeez Bhatti, Divisional Sports Officer Lahore Nadeem Qaiser, PHF Chief Selector Manzoor Junior, Head coach of national hockey team Olympian Kh Junaid, Olympian Tauqeer Dar, President Punjab Hockey Association (PHA) Kh Khawar, Secretary PHA Lt-Col (retd) Asif Naz Khokhar, Deputy Director Chand Perveen and a large number of hockey fans witnessed the closely-fought semifinal matches with keen interest.
Director General Sports Board Punjab (SBP) Adnan Arshad Aulakh, talking to the media, appreciated the nerve-wrecking semifinal matches among the top four teams of the tournament.
He said Sports Board Punjab in the collaboration with PHF is making useful efforts for the promotion and revival of hockey in the country. “We are also going to organize Hockey League in near future”.
He said: “It is nice to see such a beautiful passing, dodging and field moves during the semifinal matches. The top level skills of the young players reflected that Pakistan’s future is bright in hockey and these young players have the ability to represent the national hockey team in future”.
The first semifinal was played between Faisalabad and Bahawalpur division hockey teams in which Faisalabad edged past Bahawalpur division hockey team by 3-2.
Mohammad Sajid of Faisalabad was in excellent form throughout the match. He scored two splendid field goals in 14th and 49th minutes of the play time. His teammate Moazzam utilized a beautiful move to make his team’s third goal.
Bahawalpur division hockey team bounced back in the later stages of the match and struck two goals through Mohammad Uzair and Absar bin Rauf in the 50th and 53rd minutes respectively. Bahawalpur team which got three penalty corners could not change the fate of the match despite their brilliant fightback.
Lahore and Sargodha’s second semifinal turned out to be a tense clash after both the teams played a 1-1 draw during the stipulated time. Lahore’s goal was scored by skipper Hannan Shahid through field effort in 11th minute. Sargodha responded after seven minute when Ibrar Arshad converted a penalty corner to level the score.
Strikers and goalkeepers of both the teams once again showed great resolve in the penalty shoot outs scoring three goals each for their respective teams. Shahzaib, M Rabiya and Mohammad Amar scored for Lahore while Shaheer, Ifrahim Manga, Ibrar Arshad netted three goals for Sargodha.
Then Lahore were emerged winner in sudden death stage when Sargodha’s Shaheer sent the ball out of goalpost. Lahore’s Mohammad Amar, Hannan Shahid, M Rabiya successfully converted their hits into goals.
From Sargodha, Ifrahim Manga and Ibrar Arshad managed to score their goals but Shaheer mistakenly sent the ball out of goalpost that gave Lahore a ticket to the final.
It may be noted here that Sports Board Punjab is organizing the First Quaid-e-Azam Inter-Division Hockey Championship with the collaboration of Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF).