Two second-half goals helped IOCL defeat Namdhari in a thrilling Ozonegroup Super Division hockey league match at the KSHA Stadium here on Thursday.
With an unbeaten record after seven matches, IOCL moved to the top of the table with 21 points (one game to go). Air India, which has two matches remaining, stood second with 16.
In a fast-paced encounter, it was IOCL which looked most likely to score. Two-time Olympian Deepak Thakur, who posed a threat throughout the match with his accurate passes, created two chances for Gunashekara early on in the match. Gunashekara, however, failed on both occasions.
In the 25th minute, Thakur drove past the Namdhari defence and attempted a reverse-flick. Goalkeeper Gian Singh did well to stop the ball with his outstretched leg.
IOCL failed to convert a few more chances, while most of the Namdhari attempts were thwarted on the flanks.
After the break, IOCL finally broke through. Bharath Chikara drove the ball across the goal and Roshan Minz neatly trapped it at the far post before knocking it home.
Four minutes before the hooter, IOCL put the result beyond doubt. Didar Singh expertly kept possession on the flank, drew out a couple of defenders and calmly passed to Chikara. A simple finish marked the end of Namdhari’s resistance.
The spirited Namdhari unit finished its engagements with 11 points.
In the day’s first game, a last-minute winner by Jayantha helped Fortis edge out ASC 3-2. This was Fortis’s second victory in seven games while ASC slumped to its eighth straight defeat.
The results: Fortis 3 (Jayantha 2, B. Horo) bt ASC 2 (Dung Dung, S. Tutti); IOCL 2 (Roshan Minz, Bharath Chikara) bt Namdhari 0.
At Mysore, Tamil Nadu’s S. Prasannaa scored a convincing win over Srija Seshadri (6 points) and emerged as the sole leader with seven points from seven rounds on the penultimate day of the third MDCA all-India Open rating chess tournament 2013, conducted by MDCA at the Institute of Engineers hall on Thursday.
Important results: Seventh round: Srija Seshadri (TN, 6) lost S. Prasannaa (TN, 7); S. Ganesh Babu (TN, 6.5) bt K. Alex Thomas (Ker, 5.5); A. Augustin (Kar, 5.5) lost M. Kunal (TN, 6); Syed Anwar Shazuli (TN, 6) bt Ramachandra Bhat (Kar, 5); Aditya Chakraborty (Kar, 5.5) drew with O.T. Anil Kumar (Ker, 5.5); S. Jayakumar (TN, 5.5) drew K.S. Raghunandan (Kar, 5.5); Bharadwaj Akshay (Kar, 5.5) drew with H.G. Santosh Kashyap (Kar, 5.5); Kishan Gangolli (Kar, 6) bt H.A. Amogha (Kar, 5); Vinayak Kulkarni (Kar, 5.5) drew with Audi Ameya (Goa, 5.5); Naveen S. Hegde (Kar, 6) bt Sharan Rao (Kar, 5); Gavi Siddayya (Kar, 5) lost N. Krishna Karthik (AP, 6); R. Vaishali (TN, 5.5) bt K. Senthil Maran (TN, 4.5); Akshay V. Halangannavar (Kar, 4.5) lost V. Raghavendra (Kar, 5.5); Varma Shabdhil (Kar) lost K. Srikanth (SSCB, 5.5); R. Parthasarathy (Kar, 5) drew with K. Arjun (Ker, 5).