NEW DELHI: Qualifier Army XI exceeded all expectations to hold Bharat Petroleum 3-3 in a pool `A' super league match of the 43rd Nehru hockey tournament at the Shivaji Stadium here on Saturday.
In the other matches, Indian Oil embarrassed Sikh Regimental Centre 12-0 in pool `B' and former champion and last year's finalist Punjab & Sind Bank converted three out of six penalty corners to overcome Karnataka XI 3-2 in pool `C'.
Army XI took the lead through Suresh Kumar who moved in from the left flank and dodged past the defence to find the far corner of the goal in the eighth minute. Bharat Petroleum drew level after skipper Ajay Saroha converted the team's second penalty corner.
The deadlock was broken in the 41st minute when Ajit Kumar Majhi made the most of a goalmouth melee and left rival eight players, including the goalkeeper, stranded.
Undeterred, Petroleum found two goals in the space of two minutes to snatch the lead for the first time in the match. However, off the sixth penalty corner in the 64th minute, Army XI's Dhananjay Mahadik was on target to level scores. Army XI plays Namdhari XI on Sunday.
P&S Bank wins
Twice champion Punjab and Sind Bank made light of a 0-1 deficit at half time to overpower Karnataka, another qualifier, with Rajwinder Singh scoring twice.
In the 15th minute, Karnataka converted a penalty stroke through Appanna. Minutes into the second half, however, PSB not only equalised but also moved ahead through successive penalty-corner conversions. In the 37th minute, Baljit Singh Chandi scored off the team's third penalty corner and two minutes later, Rajwinder was on target. Rajwinder was again in the thick of action when he converted a penalty corner in the final minute.
Earlier, the day's first match fully exposed the misjudgement of the organisers. Sikh Regimental Centre, a last-minute replacement for Pakistan's Afghan Sports (Bahawalpur), suffered one of the worst drubbings ever witnessed in the second stage of this premier competition. This submission came after Indian Oil pumped in 12 goals without reply. Skipper Deepak Thakur, Prabhjot Singh (three each), Deedar Singh, Bikramjit Singh (two each), Roshan Minz and Sardar Singh were the scorers.