By Shahrukh Sohail, Senior Correspondent, Islamabad
The Pepsi Cup winners rallied back from 1-0 down to trounce BMI 4-2, who seemed favourites after dumping Mehran FC out of the semi-finals last night.
A jubilant crowd awaited the final game of the Suzuki Swift Islamabad Soccer Cup 2012 at F-6’s Multi-Purpose ground in Islamabad. The park, overflowing with washed away astro-turf, has hosted many a tournaments during its time, but nothing compared to what the Constructive Youth of Pakistan were able to pull off this time around.
A grand finale complete with coverage from PTV Sports, commentary and proper officials, the buzzing atmosphere was only aggravated by the splendid Islamabad weather on display. However when the teams took to the pitch, things started to heat up, with both sets of players eyeing the magnificent trophy and the Rs. 30,000 cash prize that went along with it.
Beaconhouse Margalla (BMI) showcased some of the finest football witnessed during the tournament and even outclassed Islamabad giants Mehran in their winning streak, but the Red Devils were more than up to the task on the night.
Things started brightly, with both sides offering plenty in attack. But led by their charismatic midfielder Ali Imran, the Beaconites charged forward at every chance and bombarded the opposing defence with uncommon ease. However, the back line held tight and managed to contain pacey winger Muhammad and the ever impressive Ali Abbasi.
Pushing from the back, it was quite unsurprising that BMI took the lead considering the tempo of the game but the scorer’s name cast a sigh of relief as skipper Ali showed that he was back to his mercurial best. Beating two Red Devils comfortably, he drifted past the defence and struck a pin-point shot to the bottom corner.
The opposition, though, rather than being muted by the goal, responded in the best fashion possible and were able to claw themselves back into the game by bagging the equalizer. A quickly taken corner caused panic in the goal and confusion between Ali Abbasi and goalkeeper Hasan Butt lead to the ball rolling into the net.
As the referee whistled for half-time, the score remained level, but the Devils were in ascendancy after turning around a one-sided performance in the first 30 minutes.
With both teams refreshed, play resumed and the Red Devils quickly profited from the change in pace, scoring a brilliant goal that eventually nestled into the top right corner.
BMI were stunned and looked to get one themselves, but their attack minded philosophy proved to be their downfall as they conceded twice in quick succession. A late goal lit up the fans, but in the end it wasn’t enough as Sameer Hussain’s side came out on top with healthy 4-2 scoreline.
Credit to the organizers for making such an event possible, but the stardust was added by the presence of Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman Engr. Farkhand Iqbal, who besides running the affairs of the capital, is also a keen patron of sports.
Addressing the youngsters before the prize distribution ceremony, the official said that tournaments and sports should be an integral part of a student’s life and claimed that he was presiding over several projects which would do exactly that.
“Sports and education are and should be a vital part of any young person’s life. We at CDA are constructing a lush cricket stadium in Islamabad with the help of the PCB and a new football ground, similar to the current one in F-6 will shortly be opening in F-8.”
“It has been a pleasure watching you play and I am grateful to be invited as a chief guest for this tournament finale. I also hope that you will conduct more competitions like this in the future,” added the dignitary.
Last year’s champions, Thuda Utd, had to play a third-place match against Mehran FC , but the A-League outfit’s coach Muhammad Tariq, refused to be humiliated further and bowed out, leaving the former trophy holders to grab the bronze.
BMI were presented with a Rs. 10,000 cash award plus medals, but in the end the Red Devils took the gold and all the glory that goes along with it, on a day which only bodes well for the beautiful game in Pakistan.
Exclusive pics of the Suzuki Swift Islamabad Soccer Cup 2012 final can be viewed on UZ Photography’s facebook