Chennai: For all the gumption and resistance offered, Sports Authority of India ‘B’ succumbed to the pressure exerted by the former champion, Integral Coach Factory, by the odd goal in three in the MIOT-CHA senior division hockey league championship at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium on Monday.
Earlier, the reigning champion, Indian Overseas Bank, prevailed over SAI ‘A’ by three goals to one after leading 1-0 at halftime. The dominance of the ICF was quite transparent, but the SAI defence, with goalkeeper Jebaraj, playing a valuable role kept the rival in check for the major part.
With Yuvaraj (Jr.) serving some pretty passes the frontline led by Rajendran and Raja maintained a steady stream of sallies although success was not easy come by.
Just as one settled down to witness a drawn game, and a goalless one at that, came the penalty corner strike by Satish Kumar when 10 minutes remained from close. Within minutes Satish drove in another almost in a similar fashion.
But SAI was the not one to take defeat lying down. It forced the pace and pinned down the ICF defence. A powerful penalty corner drive by Karthikeyan was stopped brilliantly on the goal line by Satish Kumar, but David Arokyaraj pounced on the rebound to smash the ball into the boards.
In the earlier contest, Anandan gave IOB the lead and it was followed by two goals by Olympian Adam Sinclair. In the closing minute, SAI reduced the margin when Vikram found the target.