Padma enter Qualifiers alongside Chattogram, Barishal
Monarch Padma booked their place in the Qualifiers of Hockey Champions Trophy with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Saif Power Group Khulna at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium on Thursday.
The tie was equally important for both sides to keep their hopes alive to progress in the next round. At the end of day, Padma edged past Khulna to secure a place in the Qualifiers with a match in hand.
The outcome also ensured the qualification berths for Metro Express Barishal and leaders Acme Chattogram, who were playing day's second match.
The fifth victory in nine matches helped Padma to secure 15 points from nine matches, one less than leaders Chattogram who played one less match. Meanwhile, Barishal are well positioned to stay ahead of Padma to qualify as the second-placed team as they have 15 points as well with a superior goal-difference.
Khulna came into the match on the back of three successive victories and needed to secure points against Padma to stay in the race but the sixth defeat in nine matches has left them hanging, with Rupayan Cumilla three points ahead of Khulna after eight matches.
Khulna got off to a commanding start as Mortiz Frey found the net from an open play in the fourth minute, but Padma hit back to equalise 15 minutes later through a strike from Kiren Ian Govers.
Khulna's hopes were eventually shattered as Al Nahian Shuvo struck the winning goal in the 53rd minute and, thus, Padma booked their place in the four-team Qualifiers stage, where the top two teams will play Qualifier-1 and bottom two teams will play the Eliminator and, following which, the losers of Qualifier-1 and winners of Eliminator will play the Qualifier-2.