LAHORE - Pakistan’s Dar (HA) Hockey Academy outclassed Holland’s MOP Club 4-0 in the first encounter of their European tour.

Dar HA’s opened their international campaign against the MOP’s U-18 side. Since, it was the first overseas match for this new generation of the Dar HA, the boys were a bit tentative in the opening stages. Then they were coming from temperatures of over 40 to 17 degrees. Early exchanges were equally shared and it was all even till the 30th minute as neither side could find the net despite getting quite a few chances. The ice was broken in the 28th minute when the match’s fifth and Pakistani side’s third penalty corner was dispatched in by Usman Senior through a strong flick. This is how the first half ended with the Dar HA ahead by a solitary goal.

It was a different story in the second half which was dominated by the visitors for large periods. After seeing two penalty corners go waste, the Lahore-based academy doubled the route through the same route and again via Usman senior. His well-placed flick gave the defence no chance. The last 10 minutes saw the Pakistani youngsters besieging the opponents’ goal with attacks coming in waves. Two wonderful goals captivated the onlookers.

First, Zulqarnain after an exhilarating run down the left flank controlled the ball beautifully in the circle. His cross was netted in by a diving Asad. Soon after, a fluent move from right side found Usman junior in the circle. He had very little to aim at. But the lad showed maturity belying his years and found the net from a very tight angle to complete the score line and finished the first encounter 4-0.

As always, MOP Club in Vught is hosting the Pakistani hockey academy in Holland. The resourceful club boasts wonderful facilities including four artificial hockey pitches plus a smaller ground for practicing individual skills.

It was a very encouraging start for the Dar HA who would be playing a total of nine matches against various sides in Holland. This is Dar Academy’s fourth tour of Europe but has come after a gap of two years after three visits in as many years, starting from 2010. All the boys in this U-16 side of the Dar HA were on their first trip outside Pakistan.