KOLKATA: Defending champion Punjab & Sind Bank (PSB), star-studded Indian Airlines (IA) and Border Security Force (BSF) sailed into the semifinals of the Indian Oil 112th all-India Beighton Cup hockey tournament here on Friday.
Indian Oil and Sports Authority of India (SAI) from Group `A' are vying for the fourth spot that will be decided on Saturday after the last set of quarterfinal league matches.
IA and BSF from Group `B' would play the last league match to decide the group topper. Meanwhile, Indian Oil should win or draw its final match against PSB to move up, while a defeat could give SAI a chance to move into the knock-out stage.
PSB warmed up for the tougher games in the semifinals with an authoritative display against SAI and won 5-2. Down 0-2, with goals coming from PSB's Baljit Singh Saini and Krishan Singh, the SAI boys hit back with a Dharam Das Bhengra's penalty stroke conversion in the early second-half. Three quick goals in the 53rd, 55th and 58minutes by Rajwinder Singh and Parminder Singh (two) put SAI on the back foot.
Despite pressurising in the final moments and even scoring through Sunil Kujur through a penalty corner, SAI had nothing much to offer at the end.
BNR, taking on Indian Oil, found Devesh Chauhan at the goal and Viren Rasquinha in the defence hard to beat and went down 1-4. Yet, the Railway side made the Indian Oil defence eat the humble pie with a good goal in the 51st minute after going into arrears thanks to Vivek and Kamlesh Parihar's third and 26th minute strikes.
Skipper Bikramjit Singh converted a penalty stroke to make it 3-1 before Cheeyana A.B. made the most of a left-wing cross from Shashi Topno to complete the rout.
Calcutta Customs gave a better account of itself against BSF and still went down to a 33rd minute Ranjit Singh goal to give BSF its second consecutive victory. Customs' goaltender Sandeep Shrivastav played his heart out. to effect some superb saves.