Postal won the M.G. Aiyappa Memorial hockey tournament (for institutions), defeating HAL 5-4 via a tie-breaker in an ill-tempered final at the KSHA Stadium here on Wednesday.
The teams were level 3-3 in regulation time, HAL having recovered from three goals down, before Postal triumphed in the shootout.
It was a match that turned ugly towards the end, with a brawl that resulted in one red and two yellow cards. HAL earned a penalty corner in the last minute of normal time when an argument between two rival players boiled over, with one shoving the other to the ground.
Things got out of hand as HAL’s Sujeeth Kumar was sent off. Another ugly scuffle erupted near the referee’s booth, this time involving Postal’s N.B. Uthappa and HAL coach Parimal Kumar, before things calmed down.
“These sort of things happen in the heat of the moment, but we’re all friends after the game,” Parimal said.
For Postal, the victory was revenge for its loss to the same opponent in the final of the D.S. Murthy and V. Karunakaran Memorial tournament last month.
“This is our first State-level trophy in a long time,” coach N. Mahalingam said. “We’ve lost all our recent meetings to HAL, so this time we badly wanted to win.”
Postal went ahead as early as the sixth minute through a strike from veteran forward Prakash Chalke. The outside-right H.T. Ramesh then scored twice in the space of four minutes, both goals set up by Samuel Niranjan, as Postal raced to a 3-0 lead.
HAL fought back in quick time, though, to claw two goals back by the 24th minute. In the second half, Postal ran out of steam as HAL first equalised and then missed chance after chance to take the lead.
“I was sure of winning,” Parimal said, “but it was a bad day for us.”
Postal 5 (H.T. Ramesh 3, Prakash Chalke, Vinayak Bijwad) bt HAL 4 (Pramod 2, Mukesh, Budharam) via tie-breaker.