Lance Naik Mohammad Mahfooz 9ners set up a title clash with Maj. Rana Shabbir Sharif 9ners after chalking up emphatic victories over their respective opponents in the two semi-finals of the Nishan-i-Haider international 9ners hockey tournament at the Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium here on Monday.
Mahfooz 9ners demonstrated awesome performance with an authoritative 8-4 triumph over Akram 9ners while Shabbir Sharif 9ners emerged 7-2 victorious over Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas 9ners.
Curtain falls on the event on Tuesday with final between Mahfooz 9ners and Shabbir Sharif 9ners on card at 7.00pm.
The second semi-final saw Shabbir Sharif 9ners inflicting 4-2 defeat on Rashid Minhas 9ners on the shootout and later scoring three goals in the regulation time.
Nohaiz Malik, Rana Sohail, Faizan and Aleem Bilal netted one goal apiece for the winners on shootout as M. Naveed missed the target.
Rashid Minhas 9ners could only score twice through Sikander Mustafa and Waseem Akram. M. Dilber, Kashif Javaid and Mohammad Qasim wasted their chances.
Fresh from their shootout triumph, the winners enjoyed an edge over their rivals and led 2-0 at half time.
After exchange of couple of moves, the winners forced their first PC in the 10th minute and Aleem Bilal made no mistake. Faizan consolidated the lead by converting the team’s second PC in the 19th minute. Rana Sohail completed the tally by slamming the third goal three minutes before final hooter.
Federal Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal graced the second semi-final. Soon after his arrival at the stadium, he was introduced to the two teams, technical officials and former Olympians.
Earlier in the first semi-final, L/N Mohammad Mahfooz 9ners maintained its ascendancy by accounting for Maj.Mohammad Akram 9ners 8-4, 4-2 on the shootout and followed by the identical 4-2 score line in regulation play.
Bilal Qadir, Zohaib Ashraf, Zeeshan Bokhari and Mohsin Sabir successfully scored as Saran Bin Qamar wasted the opportunity for the winners on shootout.
Skipper Shajeeh Ahmed and M. Zubair reduced the deficit by converting second and fourth strokes respectively as Awais-ur-Rehman, Usman Nazim and Shan Irshad failed to avail their chances for the losers.
Mohsin Sabir struck two goals in a span of three minutes to guide Mahfooz 9ners to add another four goals to their tally as against two scored by their opponents.
Sabir’s field goals came in the 12th and 15th minutes while Rana Umair and Bilal Qadir scored once.
Zubair scored both the goals for Akram 9ners, first off a penalty stroke in the very first minute and next on the team’s second PC in the 28th minute to reduce the deficit.
Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2017