WAPDA, Army enter national hockey tourney semis

Karachi: Following victories registered by WAPDA and Army, the list of four semifinalists was completed on Thursday in the ongoing 62nd National Hockey Championship here at the Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium.

WAPDA humbled Port Qasim Authority 5-1 and Army edged out Navy 3-0 in the third and fourth quarterfinals on Thursday. Both semifinal matches will be played under floodlights on January 9.

Two goals each by Sohail Abbas and Mohammed Jaffar and excellent performance of Tasawar Abbas, Umar Bhutta, Ejaz Ahmed and Khalid Bhatti helped WAPDA to earn an emphatic win against PQA in the third quarterfinal of the Championship.

The winners dominated the proceedings since beginning of the match. Their forwards launched an attack in the 2nd minute, got a penalty corner which was neatly struck by their captain Sohail Abbas. In the second quart, Shakeel Abbasi of PQA led an attack in the 23rdminute and hit hard from the top of the circle which was neatly deflected by Mohammed Usman to level the score.

Both team launched a series of attacks against each other in the third quarter. Kashif Jawwad and Shakeel Abbasi put extra efforts to intrude into WAPDA’s circle. Particularly, Abbasi showed some glimpses of his past brilliance amid his skilful dribbling. PQA’s goalkeeper Rashid Yaqoob stopped at least two attempts on his chest. In the 37th minute Umar Bhutta and Ejaz Ahmed made a beautiful move and entered into the Circle where PQA’s Hanif Shahzad cleared the ball just in front of the goalkeeper.

PQA players looked exhausted in the last quart during which WAPDA scored four goals. WAPDA’s Umar Bhutta and Ejaz Ahmed made a combined move in the 48th minute which created an opportunity for Mohammed Jaffar to score a field goal. Three minutes later (51stmin) a move between Fareed Ahmed and Bilal Ahmed earned a penalty corner. Sohail Abbas scored his second goal of the match. Mohammed Usman scored the fourth goal on a cross from Tasawar Raza and in the 55th minute and Jaffar scored his second field goal in the 56th minute. Muneer and Sajid Rana supervised the match.

Army’s captain Mohammed Rizwan led from the front with his spectacular field goals in the 10th minute which brought their opponents under pressure. He was also instrumental in Kashif Ali’s second goal and many of Army’s moves during the match.

Navy made strenuous efforts led by their captain Rashid Mehmood and ably supported by Mohammed Sabir and Asif Ali to reduce the margin. They missed two fair chances to score. First on Sabir’s pass in the Circle Kamran Asif failed to deflect. Then Asif Ali missed a cross from Rashid in the last quarter. Even luck didn’t favour them as their one field goal was disallowed after the referral taken by their opponents. Atif Malik and Sohail Janjua were the field umpires.