Ashgar's double strike helps set record straight

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 February, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 February, 2002, 12:00am

Shaheen marksman Ashgar Ali blasted a brace of goals as his team defeated Kowloon Cricket Club A 2-1 in a Hong Kong men's First Division match to correct a blot in the champions' record books.

Almost four months ago, KCC sounded the death knell to Shaheen by holding the champions to a surprise 2-2 draw in the first round of the league. It was the start of a difficult period for the champions, who were later held to another draw against unfancied Valley. Shaheen were expected to breeze through their matches with ease, but the team, who have dominated local hockey for much of the 1980s and '90s, were unexpectedly dropping points.

But Shaheen have rediscovered their scoring prowess and there was no denying who had the better finishing yesterday at King's Park as Shaheen moved to within three points of league leaders Hong Kong Football Club A, who have a game in hand.

Shaheen had to come back from a goal down again after Saghir Khan scored for the Cricketers early in the first half. Ali, the SAR's deadliest striker, sprung into action with two quick-fire goals that eventually gave the champions the points.

He first struck from a set-piece, scoring low with a drive and he added to his tally before the break with a powerful shot from a tight angle. There were no more goals in the second half as Shaheen held on to their slender lead for the win.

KCC goalkeeper Tony Cheung said Ali was the difference between the teams because of his clinical finishing.

'They had a full team and although we seemed to have dominated the match with some good, controlled play, Shaheen had the better finishing. I think we have improved from last time. But we just couldn't score again after Saghir opened the scoring.

'Ashgar [Ali] didn't play in their first match against us so that's why they were strong up front,' said Cheung, whose team remain in third place on 22 points, six behind Shaheen.

Shaheen midfielder Asif Ali said beating KCC erased some of the bad memories they had of their previous game.

'We wanted to beat KCC today because they had done well to hold us to a draw last time. We still have a crack at the title, even though we are behind Football Club. It's not over yet,' he said.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong Football Club B enjoyed a fine 3-1 victory over Nav Bharat A at Sport's Road, while Pakistan Association A edged SSSC A 3-2 at King's Park for their seventh victory of the season to keep them in fourth place on 21 points.

Valley A grabbed their fourth win of the season when they defeated bottom club Elite A 2-1 at Happy Valley.