Punjab Colours grab third position: National Bank win 33rd National Junior Hockey Championship

KARACHI: National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) stunned defending champions Pakistan WAPDA in the final 2-1 to win the 33rd National Junior Hockey Championship that concluded at the Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium here on Saturday. The chief guest, Sindh Minister for Health Dr Saghir Ahmed, gave away the winners trophy to the captain of NBP, Mohammad Ateeque and a cash prize of Rs.200,000. The runners-up pocketed cash prize of Rs.150,000. Mubashar Hussain, with seven goals, was declared the best player of the championship. NBP initiated their attack in the first minute of the match when even their opponents were settling down. They earned a penalty corner through a combined move by Shah Irshad, Ateeque and Waseem Akram. Mubashar Hussain’s successful conversion not only gave them a 1-0 lead but also surprised their opponents who were mot expecting a goal in the first minute. In the fourth minute, WAPDA players made a counter attack and also earned a penalty corner but failed to capitalize it.

The final, however, lacked the thrill and excitement of the semifinals and the third position match. Though both finalists teams made some interesting moves yet their finishing was worst. They adopted defensive strategy and occasionally found space to attack but their moves can’t set the momentum of a big final which deprived the spectators to enjoy a tough competition. Nevertheless, last few minutes of the final were worthy to watch. A determined move initiated by NBP’s trio comprising Junaid, Ateeque and Waseem earned two back to back penalty corners in the 57th and 58th minutes respectively. Mubashar slammed second goal for his team. In the last minute the drama was repeated as this time WAPDA got three penalty corners and they reduced the margin of defeat through Mohammed Ahad who successfully converted the third penalty corner. Kamran MP and Shahid Pervaiz supervise the match.

Earlier, Punjab Colours downed Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) 3-2 in a drama packed last four minutes of the match to get third position in the championship and won a cash prize of Rs.100,000. PIA dominated the proceedings, leading 2-1 till the 55th minute of the match and looking for a victory. Qasim Ahmed slammed a goal on penalty corner in the 56th minute to bring Punjab at par with PIA at 2-2. The match entered into a very exciting stage and both teams made aggressive moves to earn a victory but it was Mohsin Sabir, captain of Punjab who rose to the occasion and shattered PIA’s dreams with a beautiful field goal just few second before the final whistle. From the winners, Mohammad Asif netted the first goal in the 37th minute. PIA’s Abu Bakr slammed the first goal in the 17th minute on a penalty corner and Amir Ali scored the second goal for his team in the 37th minute. Kamran Sharif and Muneer were the umpires. Karachi Hockey Association president Wasay Jalil presented cash prize of Rs.100,000 to the third position holders Punjab.

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