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Adrian shines in Pakistan
September 16, 2005 20:48 IST
It will be Indian teammates Dilip Tirkey against Arjun Halappa in Pakistan's inaugural Super Hockey League final after Sindh Qalandars and Northern Cavaliers qualified for Sunday's title clash on the basis of better goal difference.
Sindh Qalandars, the Karachi team having the services of India captain Dilip Tirkey, reached the final after Frontier Falcons thrashed Gagan Ajit Singh-inspired Capital Dynamos 5-2 in the opening match of Friday's programme.
Ironically, it was Falcons' only victory in the tournament.
In the second match of the evening, India goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza excelled under the bar until Rehan Butt's piece of magic defeated him in the 52nd minute and eventually earned Cavaliers a passage to the final.
D'Souza's Baloch Lions defeated Northrern Cavaliers 3-1, but had D'Souza prevented Butt from scoring from a narrow angle, the Lions would have edged out Cavaliers on better goal difference.
After the league stage, Sindh Qalandars, Northern Cavaliers, Baloch Lions and Shan-e-Punjab finished on nine points, with three victories and two defeats.
However, Sindh Qalandars had a plus-4 goal difference while Northern Cavaliers and Baloch Lions had a difference of plus-1, while Shan-e-Punjab's was –1. But Cavaliers edged out Lions by virtue of scoring more goals -- 13 against 12.
Dynamos had taken the field aware of the fact that they needed an outright victory for a place in the final. But their hopes were dashed by some untidy play as they missed opportunity after opportunity. By the time they got on the scoreboard in the 49th minute through Gagan Ajit
Singh, Frontiers had already built a 4-0 lead. It was Gagan's fifth goal in the competition.
Frontiers restored the four-goal advantage soon after Gagan's goal before Shahid Rabbani reduced the margin of defeat for the Dynamos and also became the leading scorer with seven goals.
In the second match of the evening, D'Souza brought off no less than half a dozen quality saves but was left wrong-footed by Butt, who scored one of the beauties of the competition. Nevertheless, Butt's spectacular goal did not prevent the adjudicators from naming D'Souza the man-of-the-match.
In Saturday's matches, Capital Dynamos will face Frontier Falcons in the fifth-sixth play-off while Baloch Lions take on Shan-e-Punjab in bronze medal match.