Karachi: NBP overpowered SSGC 4-1 while PAF overcame Punjab 2-1 in the First Chief of the Army Staff Challenge Hockey Cup at the Army Hockey Stadium in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.
Without seasoned Shakeel Abbasi the SSGC looked minnows in their last pool match. Their forwards lacked coordination and defenders were also not in fine touch. Throughout the match they failed to pierce through the bankers’ defense and get any penalty corner.
Mohammad Tousiq, Arslan Qadir, Ali Shan and Dilber Hassan, experienced forwards of the bankers exploited this weakness and kept control of the ball which remained in their opponents’ area in first three quarters.
Dilber Hassan’s 13th minute field goal gave lead to the bankers. In the 33rd minute, Tousiq Arshad gave a long pass to Ali Shan near the D who dodged two defenders and finally beat the goalkeeper to score the second goal for the bankers. Atiq Arshad scored the third field goal in the 38th minute and finally Ali Shan netted the fourth, his second, goal for his team in the 59th minute. SSGC pulled one when Abbas Haider scored in the 51st minute.
The last match of the day was a formality for both teams but they demonstrated aggression in their game which made it an exciting encounter as both fought hard to gain supremacy. Led by Saeed Shah, the airmen forwards Shahbaz, Asif Raza and Fahid displayed their artistry with stick and made frequent inroads to disturb Punjab’s sturdy defense.
Samiullah of PAF scored in the 12th minute of the match to give a goal lead to his team. Eight minutes later, Punjab’s Mohammed Adnan leveled the score with a beautiful field goal. After that both played tirelessly to gain lead and launched a number of attacks. The ball kept rolling between the two halves at a bullet’s pace. Just at the dead end of the third quarter, 45th minute, PAF’s Shahbaz, Saeed and Asif Gill made a combined move and succeeded in getting a penalty corner. Mushtaq made no mistake in striking the goal post.
The last quarter of the match was full of aggression and speed. Punjab forwards made a couple of attempts but agile goalkeeper Qurban frustrated their hits.