LAHORE - SSGC defeated Army while PIA held NBP on the second day of the 63rd Zaitoon National Hockey Championships super league phase here at the National Hockey Stadium Thursday.

Two teams made repeated raids. SSGC were the only side to earn penalty corners in the first half while army had three good field attempts on the goal, one of them came off the pole. It remained goalless after 30 minutes. In the third quarter, SSGC had the better of the exchanges especially in the first seven minutes when they camped in army's 23 meter area. Adeel Latif, who looked very dangerous and made repeated penetrations into the circle, missed a good chance. Persistence paid as the SSGC went ahead in the 34th minute, off their fifth penalty corner. Abbas Haider scored with a low angular push.

The fit soldiers toiled hard for the equaliser in the last 15 minutes. They had at least a couple of good open play chances apart from two penalty corners. M Imran, scorer of 99 international goals, couldn't convert either. Army even substituted their goal keeper for an outfield player in the 58th minute but the goal eluded them.

The second match of the day between NBP and PIA ended in a 3-3 draw. An exciting contest was anticipated between the two top contenders, which lived up to the expectations. PIA were up against NBP boasting eight members of Pakistan's under-21 squad. Thrice, NBP went ahead and each time the airline came back. PIA even came close to a memorable win in the last minute. First Shafqat's attempt was superbly saved by the NBP net minder, Mazhar Abbas and on the rebound, PIA captain M Irfan Senior shot it above the bar with the goal at his mercy.

The match began with the bankers having the better of the exchanges. The youngsters earned the first penalty corner in the 11th minute. Abu Bakr who made a hat trick in an earlier game, found the net with a push left of the goal keeper Imran Butt. In the last minute of the first quarter, experienced Shafqat Rasool sent a superb long ball into the circle. The fine opportunist Haseem got the ball into the NBP net with a first time hit. In the next quarter also, the ball mostly remained in the PIA circle though they had the only penalty corner of the period. The best opportunity fell to NBP's Bilal Qadir who missed from a close range.

NBP again went ahead in the 36th minute. A swift move was initiated from the own half by Ammad Butt. In the circle, Azfar Yaqoob's parallel pass meant for a teammate was deflected in the goal by a PIA defender. Again, bankers were dominating most of the time. And again, PIA equalised in the last minute of the quarter. Yasir Islam's excellent pass from the NBP's 23 metre line was well received by Zubair on the left side of the circle, who made it 2-2 with a fantastic reverse hander into the far post.

PIA, employing all their experience, made several forays into the bankers’ territory in the first seven minutes of the last quarter. First, Haseem wasted an easy opportunity and then a penalty corner wasn’t availed. In the 54th minute, they themselves conceded a penalty corner for a rash foul. Abu Bakr again put the NBP ahead with a missile of a flicker in the 54th minute. The resilient PIA came back once again. A good sortie saw the ball in the NBP circle for sometime before Zubair, with his second, of the evening equalised for the third time. The score stayed despite the last minute drama.

Today (Friday), Wapda will take on Army at 9.30am, Railways will face Police challenge at 11:30am while SSGC will vie against SNGPL in the last encounter of the day at 2:30pm.