LAHORE -  Pakistan junior hockey team played outstanding hockey to hold star-studded World XI to 3-3 draw in the second and last match of the series played here at the National Hockey Stadium on sunny Sunday.

The match turned out to be a thrilling one, where both the sides displayed superb stick work and gave tough time to each other and in the end, Pakistan juniors succeeded in holding the experienced international hockey players to 3-3 draw. The first quarter proved to be a dull affair despite both the teams tried their best to score the opening goal and take the lead, but all their efforts went in vain, as no goal was scored by both the sides. They continued their struggle in the second quarter as well and finally, the World XI succeeded in scoring the opening goal in the 28th minute when captain Roderick Weusthof found with the net with a calculated shot, two minutes before the half time to provide his team 1-0 lead.

It was high-voltage third quarter, which saw World XI stamping their authority by scoring a goal in 36th minute when when Nahuel Salis found the goalpost with an angular shot which left the goalkeeper guessing and gave World XI 2-0 lead. Two goals down, Pakistan juniors made their presence felt in the ground by converting their fifth penalty corner into a goal through Rizwan Ali in the 37th minute to make it 2-1. In the 42nd minute, in a lovely right side move, Adeel Latif attempted on the goal with a forceful shot and the ball sailed into the post after a deflection of the goalkeeper. And with this goal, Pakistan leveled the score 2-2.

In the fourth and last quarter, Pakistan juniors were being charged up more enthusiastically by the comparatively thin crowd than that was being expected by the hosts, but despite all-out support and backing, they couldn’t add more goal. It was once again the World XI, which took the lead 3-2 lead off their second short corner of the play in the 52nd minute, when Roderick gave no time to Pakistani goalkeepers and a host of defenders to make any move with a superb push as the ball swiftly landed inside the post.

Although the World XI lead put extra pressure on the young Pakistan side, yet they never lost their hearts and fought with more passion and succeeded in pumping in an impressive leveler when Naveed Alam put the goal into the net to make it 3-3 amid applause from the crowd and the teammates. It was all that both the sides could get from the match as the thrilling match ended in a 3-3 draw.

Although Pakistan juniors played out a draw match, yet holding the international experienced side was not less than a victory while on the other hand, the World XI side succeeded in winning the hearts of Pakistan hockey lovers and made the day momentous and remarkable for them as well as for hockey fans. From World XI, captain Roderick Weusthof emerged as top score with two goals while Nahuel Salis netted one. From Pakistan side, Rizwan Ali, Adeel Latif and Naveed Alam contributed one goal each.

Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Riaz Hussain Prizada was the chief guest on the occasion and distributed prizes among the players. He also gave the winning trophy to World IX captain Roderick Weusthof. Also present on the occasion were Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Brig (r) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar, secretary Shahbaz Ahmad Senior and a number of former hockey Olympians and hockey lovers.

 

 

AZHAR KHAN