Punjab-A played HKFA-A in the Holland Cup Semi-final at Hong Kong Football Club in a good spirited, competitive and exciting match. HKFC-A scored first but this was the only time they were to be in front in the match. Punjab-A countered almost immediately from a penalty corner with a straight shot to the goal by Aleem Bilal.
As the first half progressed it could be seen that both teams were playing good strategic hockey but the key difference was HKFC-A were more often being broken down in the final quarter of the field. Punjab’s 2nd and 3rd goals came in quick succession after 18 minutes into the game with well worked field goals, first a hard hit shot from a fine angle from the right and the second from a reverse stick shot from the left – both by Harmanpreet Singh,
From this point the pressure was squarely on Club to counter but at that time the Punjab defence was secure. Punjab forced another penalty corner 3-minutes from half time and scored with a drag flick into the roof of the net. Punjab added another goal by Harmanpreet Singh with a reverse stick shot from the right of the circle with the last hit of the first half to make the score 5-1 at the break giving Club a huge task if they were to win the match.
It was goalless for the first 13 minutes of the second half but Punjab broke the silence with a firmly hit shot by Harwinder Singh. Club had a good shot from a penalty corner saved by the Punjab goalie but with hit a long ball up field was well collected, fired across the goal face and expertly deflected into the net to bring the score to 6-2 and give Club some hope. But the hope was short-lived as Punjab although they lost a player yellow carded they took the ball up field and hit a fierce shot from the edge of the circle to make the score 7-2.
Punjab were getting a bit lax and Club took advantage to convert another good field goal to bring the score to 7-3 with 8-minutes remaining. But Punjab again came up with the counter through Asad Bashir to make it 8-3. But Club not to be deterred got their 4th and 5th goals in the final minutes of the game to finish at 8-5.
Waseem Ahmad, Punjab-A’s manager talked with Epoch Times after the match.
“It was a really good game and our team dominated the whole time it was really comfortable for us. We are looking forward to the final and hopefully we will win this year. [If we do] it will be the first time for us to win any cup or championship.
“They [SSSC] have a good team but the way we are playing today and if we play like that we will win the final as well.
“We were a bit lazy in defence, but we were winning by 5 or 6 goals so it is fair enough to relax a little.
Talking again about the final “Yes, they [SSSC] have a good side and it will not be an easy game, it is really going to be very tough – it is always a very close contest with them but in the league we drew one game and won the other so hopefully if we keep on playing like we did today we have a good chance to win” he said
Ahmed concluded by saying “The whole team will be back for that match, I will go back to Australia and another of the team will go back to India but we will return on May 8 or 9”.
In the other Holland Cup Semi-final, SSSC-A beat HKCC-A 5-0 at King’s Park and will play Punjab-A in the Holland Cup Final in Finals Day on May 10.
NBC-A and SSSC-B are through to the HKHA Cup final while KNS-B will play SSSC-C for the Plate and RHOBA-C will play KNS-D for the Bowl.