ISLAMABAD – Defending champions Young Rising Star Women Football Club lift the 7th National Women Football Championship trophy after edging out Diya Club in sudden death penalty shoot outs here on Friday in the final played at Pakistan Sports Board Jinnah Stadium.
The final was really a treat to watch between the two top teams of the event, the match started in a very positive manner and both team players started to attack at each others goal, to the surprise of many, Diya Club girls were playing excellent soccer, despite facing the holders, Diya girls show no signs of big match pressure and put the Young Rising defense at bay, specially the player of the tournament Hajra Khan of Diya Club was in sublime form.
She was the architect of all the Diya attacks, Young Rising players were clearly feeling the big match pressure and before they could hardly settle down, Hajra managed to sneak in a goal in the 18th minute of the first through a long range effort, Young Rising goalie went wrong way and the ball slides in to empty net, this was the first time during the entire tournament that Young Rising concedes a goal and their goalie Syeda Mahpara Shahid was beaten. After scoring the goal Diya players continue to press for another and went on to attack Young Rising goal.
Had Young Rising goalie not been at her level best, Diya could have easily scored two or three goals in the first half, Mahpara at least saved two brilliantly taken shots from Hajra.
Young Rising players specially their ace center forward Malaika Noor was looking like a silent spectator through out the first half and she hardly even touch the ball during the entire first half 35 minutes.
Diya players keep on pilling the pressure on Young Rising but through the passage of time Young Rising players came out of the shock of conceding the goal and begin to play with some confidence, they tried to reduce the deficit and to score themselves but despite coming to close to scoring wasted clear cut goal scoring opportunities.
The first half ended 1-0 in favor of Diya Club, right from the start of the second half the champions begin to show their class and let the opponents know why were they defending champions with some fine passing football and their star player Malika found her feat moving freely.
Diya girls were put under a lot of pressure by Young Rising girls and they were finding it difficult to move the ball away from their half, Young Rising pressure paid off in the 52nd minute when Malaika was fouled in the box by Diya defender, the referee pointed at the spot. Malaika came forward and converted the penalty after beating Diya goalie to equalise.
Young Rising Club could have won the final by at least 4 or five goals had they not wasted numerous goal scoring opportunities, their casual approach could have cost them the title had Diya converted a simple goal scoring chance in the dying minutes of the match. The match ended 1-1 till the full time.
Both teams failed to score in the ten minutes each half extra time. The match went in to penalty shoot-out, Diya girls started to take the penalties first, both teams missed two kicks each as the shootout then moved to sudden death. Diya player missed the plenty and Young Rising player converted the plenty for the utter jubilation of her team and a large crowd who were gathered their to witness the final.
Paul Malloy, Deputy High Commissioner, Australian embassy was the chief guest of the final, along with Ahmed Yar Lodhi, Secretary Pakistan Football Federation, Brig (Retd) Arif Siddiqui, former DG, PSB, Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera, DG, (Technical&Training) PSB and Mrs Robina Irfan, PFF Women Wing.
Winner trophy along with Rs 0.3million was awarded to Young Rising captain by the chief guest, runner up trophy and Rs 0.2 million were given away to Diya Club, Wapda got third position trophy and Rs one hundred and fifty thousand, Fair Play trophy and cash prize of Rs forty thousand was given to Balochistan United Women Football Club, Syeda Mahpara, (Young Rising) was declared Best goalkeeper of the tournament, Rs forty thousand cash and trophy, Best player (Misha Dawood Trophy) was awarded to Hajra Khan of Diya Club, Rs fifty thousand and trophy, Highest goal scorer, Malika Noor (Young Rising) Rs forty thousand and trophy, best referee Habib Ullah Khan, Karachi, Rs thirty thousand cash and best assistant referee female Saima Majeed, Lahore, Rs fifteen thousand cash.