HONG KONG—With 3-players in their side (Gagandeep Singh, Asad Bashir and Khurram Shazad) that will soon travel to Canada to play in the Canadian summer league, Punjab-A gave Khalsa-A, considered to be the current top team in Hong Kong, a real test in the HKHA Premier division on Sunday Feb 1, 2015.
Khalsa-A are not used to being the underdogs but the Punjab side was in top form – matching Khalsa with fast tackles, persistent defending and superb stick-work and ball control. Punjab made great pass interceptions to change the direction of play setting up fast attacking moves. Khlasa-A almost did not know what had hit them or how to cope with the superb play both in attack and defence. With the two ex-Olympians (Waseem Ahmad and Sukhwinder Singh) playing in conjunction with Gagandeep Singh, Asad Bashir up front, and Khurram Shahzad Muhammad Bilal in defence also bolstered the play of their other team mates.
Punjab forced a penalty corner after 10 minutes of play and Bilal forced the ball along the ground through several players including the goalie’s legs into the goal. The game continued to go Punjab’s way, superb interceptions set up attacking opportunities particularly for Gagandeep Singh and Waseem Ahmad. Punjab’s second opportunity arose after a further 10-minute period when the ball was fed across to Punjab’s No. 5, Samsul Haziq at the right hand side of the circle, he rounded the advancing goalie and scored from a very narrow angle – 2-0.
This was new territory for Khalsa: 2-goals down with no reply. Punjab attacked again Waseem Ahmad laid the ball off to Bashir to fire at goal from the left side: again it hit the target – the supporters erupted. The score remained at 3-0 to half time.
Punjab’s 4th goal came with 12 minutes left on the clock. Khalsa-A were now having more success and forced some good saves from the Punjab goalie before finally scoring. There was still 8.00 minutes left on the clock and the match became even more exciting as Khalsa tried to make amends, but it was not their day and 4-1 was the final result.
A super match, but there have been rumbles from the Khalsa supporters’ camp that maybe one or two visiting players in the Punjab-A side might not be able to meet the 5-match league playing requirement so Punjab may lose the points! As the table stands at the moment SSSC-A lead with 39-points, Punjab-A are second with 38 points and Khalsa-A are on 37 points setting up an interesting a final week in the league next week.
In the other Premier-A matches SSSC-A beat HKFC-A 6-3 to move back to the top of the table and KNS-A finished 1-0 winners over Valley-A at King’s Park. In Premier-B Shaheen-A beat Pak-A 3-2 and KCC-A drew 1-1 with HKFC-B. The result of the Rhino-A to HKCC-A is 5-0 to HKCC.
In the last weekend of the 2014-2015 league in Premier-A, Khalsa-A play SSSC-A, KNS-A meet Punjab-A (both matches are at King’s Park) and HKFC-A hosts to Valley-A at Sports Road. In Premier-B Shaheen travel to Football Club to play HKFC-B, Pak-A play Rhino-A at Happy Valley and HKCC-A play KCC-A at King’s Park.