Dar es Salaam. Elias Samala brilliance helped defending champions TPDF record a 2-1 win over Dar Khalsa in the Dar es Salaam Regional Hockey League at the Lugalo ground in yesterday.
Five teams are battling it out for the title in the tournament organised by Dar es Salaam Regional Hockey Associational (THA).
It was Dar Khalsa, however, who made a bright start in the thrilling and end-to-pend match.
They went one up a few seconds into the game through Ravi Vaja, who shot the Dar Khalsa fans into wild celebrations with a brilliant finish.
Celebrations that greeted the goal had hardly died down when Elias Samala levelled matters for the army team.
Samala brilliantly concluded a spadework by Abdallah Katundu a minute later to ease the title-holders’ nerves.
Dar Khalsa’ Jatin Vaja had squandered two golden chances earlier before the start of raids that overwhelmed them.
Katundu, the match’s most brilliant player, scored the second goal for TPDF in the 55th minute. He outwitted Dar Khalsa defenders before easily firing the ball home.
He collected the ball from Samala off the left flank before coolly placing it home to the delight of the team’s fans.
Both sides worked hard throughout the game, but it was eventually the army men, who had the last laugh, thanks to their ability to fully exploit the best chance they had.
Dar Khalsa, who had a couple of experienced players into their fold, battled gallantly in efforts to avoid defeat, but their opponents stood firm to cancel out attacks.
Dar Khalsa, who are among regular campaigners in the league, will now be forced to come out firing on all cylinders in their forthcoming assignments if they are to put their campaign back on track.
TPDF, on their part, will have to improve on their attacking approach to ensure they win convincingly in their next matches, as their striking force looked ineffective at some point.
TPDF captain Elias Samala hailed his players for the brilliant performance.
Commenting on the match, the Tanzania Hockey Association (THA) assistant secretary general, Mnonda Magani, saluted both teams for the highly skilled game and fighting spirit they displayed.