Highlanders FC clinch national finals of Neymar Jr’s 5 event [Dawn]

Highlanders FC clinch national finals of Neymar Jr’s 5 event [Dawn]

ISLAMABAD: Highlanders FC of Islamabad on Sunday secured Pakistan’s berth in the Neymar Jr’s Five 2017 Global Final by defeating Lahore’s Fantastic Five in the National Finals decider stage here, organized by Red Bull.

The local team drew on the support of home fans to edge out Fantastic Five in a high octane final that saw some dazzling football action. Both teams fought hard for victory but it was the team from Islamabad that prevailed due to their better skill-set and composure in a high pressure final held last night.

The Total Football Club (Islamabad) was an ideal venue for the final, Highlanders FC were in control from the outset and despite the challenge offered by their rivals from Lahore, the winners succeeded in scoring three goals to register a 3-0 win.

Highlanders FC now have a lifetime opportunity of representing Pakistan in the Neymar Jr’s Five Global Final scheduled to take place in July this year. Last year the honour went to Peshawar’s Ghost FC, Highlanders FC have the pedigree to compete with the best in the world with their team consisting of some fine attacking players who fit the bill for this action packed and instant version of football.

Earlier in the semi-finals, Fantastic Five booked their place in the final through a win against Karachi’s Athletico DeJiwani. The team from Lahore displayed superior stamina, attacking skills and defence to edge out their rivals. Highlanders FC signalled a warning to Fantastic Five with their semi-final win over the wild card entry Jinnah FC. Highlanders FC succeeded in maintaining the momentum as Fantastic Five buckled under pressure in the all-important final.

Despite their defeat, Fantastic Five can be proud of their effort which saw them make it to the National Final in a competition that attracted some of the best players of the five-a-side version from all over the country.

Now the focus is on Highlanders FC and how they represent the country at the Global Finals when they lock horns with the best in the business from around the world. Highlanders FC have shown that they have the prowess to make a name both for their team and Pakistan at the global stage. The team has vowed to work hard and the squad members are determined for a sterling show at the Neymar’s Five Global Final 2017 at Neymar Jr’s Instituto Projeto in Praia Grande, Brazil.

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2017