RAWALPINDI: Reigning champions National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), in one of most exciting contests of National Hockey Champ­ionship, beat Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) in the semi-final in sudden death shoot to advance to the final against Wapda here at the Mari Petroleum Company Hockey Stadium on Thursday.

The defending champions after a thrilling contest defeated SSGC 6-5 to face Wapda in the final on Friday, which reached the decider after defeating Navy 1-0.

The NBP, which had faced defeat in its two important league matches against Wapda and Navy, in semifinal put up a good show and it was looking a much improved side against SSGC. In the 17th minute of the game, Abu Bakhar struck in to provide 1-0 lead to NBP, but eight minutes later SSGC’s captain Mubashir Ali converted a plenty corner to make it one all. SSGC’s captain was supported by his brilliant forward Ali Shan, who in 30th minute of the game scored a field goa to give lead to SSGC.

But at the very last moment of the match ( in 60th minute) NBP captain Arslan Qadir successfully netted the ball through team efforts to provide a sigh of relief to his team to end the match in stipulated time 2-2.

Then, both teams ended the plenty shootout in equalizer 2-2 and then the match was entered into sudden death stage, where bankers’ captain Arslan Qadir and Mohammad Dilbar successfully struck in to guide their team to move into final to defend the title. While from SSGC side only Adeel managed to netted the ball in sudden death stage. Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Youth Affairs Usman Dar watched this semifinal as special guest.

Meanwhile, in second semifinal of the day, Wapda defeated Navy 1-0 after a tough fight.

Both teams exhibited brilliant performance and gave tough time to each other. In the 47th minute, Aleem Iqbal scored a field goal, which turned to be winning score for his side. Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri was the chief guest of this match.

Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2020

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