Sports News

The tournament kick started with the first match between Khalsa’s A and B team, both comprising the NHL 1 and 2 players respectively. It was a close fought match between the two, with both teams having equal chances. However, Kent Loo from the Khalsa A team broke the deadlock with a last-minute winner, giving Khalsa A 3 points to take the lead in the table.

Khalsa A went on to play their second match against Singapore Khalsa Sikhs. It was an intense midfield battle as neither of the teams came close to scoring. The game ended goalless giving a point each.

The third game for Khalsa A was against a star-studded JOHC. JOHC dominated possession for most of the game, and scored a well orchestrated winning goal in the second half. The game ended 1-0 to JOHC, causing Khalsa A to fall to the 3rd position in the league standings.

In the last group stage match, Khalsa A faced team Friends of Hockey. Khalsa A were determined to get the much needed 3 points, and put up a good fight to win with a scoreline of 2-0.

Khalsa finished 3rd in the table, just behind JOHC who came in 2nd after a goalless draw against group stage leaders Singapore Khalsa Sikhs. Friends of Hockey beat Khalsa B in the quarter finals match, which got them a spot in the semi finals against Singapore Khalsa Sikhs.

The semi finals round began with the match between Khalsa A and JOHC. With a young Khalsa team against an experienced and skillful JOHC, Khalsa worked cohesively as a unit and defended against several threatening attacks to deny JOHC a goal. The game ended 0-0, and proceeded to a penalty challenge shootout. JOHC took the first challenge, which was saved by Khalsa’s keeper. Naveen Kumar then stepped up to take the first challenge for Khalsa. After he entered the semi-circle, he calmly circled around the keeper, only to miss an open goal. The next two challenges were then saved by both the keepers of the opposing team. In the third round, JOHC tried their best to score the crucial goal, but denied once again by Khalsa’s goalkeeper Gugan. Khalsa then knew they had to score this to secure a place in the finals. Leading by example, Khalsa A’s captain Prem Singh stepped up courageously. He dribbled into the semi circle with composure, beat the keeper, just to coolly push the ball into the goal on his reverse stick. Khalsa A proved to be the more determinant side and made it to the finals.

Following which, Friends of hockey triumphed over Singapore Khalsa Sikhs, which led to a finals between Khalsa A and Friends of Hockey.

Khalsa A having beaten Friends of Hockey in the group stages, got off to a slow start, while Friends of Hockey were determined to make a point. Early de‐ fensive errors from Khalsa A gave Friends of Hockey a breakthrough, which saw the first half ending with a goal to Friends of Hockey. Khalsa A were not done just yet. The perseverance and fighting spirit among the players was evident in the second half, which led to Jeremiah Samson hitting a defence splitting pass straight into the semi-circle, only for Naveen Kumar to deflect it into the back of the net. The game ended not long after, as the equaliser had brought Khalsa A into a penalty shootout challenge once again.

The first penalty was taken by Friends of Hockey, as their penalty taker stunned the goalkeeper with an early shot as soon as he entered the semi-circle. Khalsa A however, failed to equalise. In the second round, Gugan did well to deny Friends of Hockey a second goal in the shootout by making multiple back-to-back saves. Khalsa A equalised in the follow‐ ing penalty taken by Shivraj, who netted a rebound after a save from his first shot. Khalsa’s Gugan again denied Friends of Hockey to take the lead, while Prem Singh stepped up to take the final penalty once more. With his experience and intelligence, Prem entered the semi-circle, pulled the ball to the side and pushed it pass the keeper. The goal by the skipper allowed Khalsa A to emerge victorious, as the hosts of the tournament were crowned champions for the 2018 Vesakhi Mela Hockey Carnival.