ONGC, PNB and IOC in last four

DUEL: Indian Railways' Belsajar Horo (left) and Namdhari XI's Gurmeet Singh in action in the MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament in Chennai on Thursday. Photo : M. Vedhan

DUEL: Indian Railways' Belsajar Horo (left) and Namdhari XI's Gurmeet Singh in action in the MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament in Chennai on Thursday. Photo : M. Vedhan   | Photo Credit: M_VEDHAN

Configuring the semifinalists to take the stage on Saturday proved an interesting exercise on Thursday in the MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament at the Mayor Radhakrishan Stadium. As phase one concluded, the last four teams were identified.

The line-up for the penultimate round will be: ONGC versus PNB, Indian Railways versus IOC.

The faint chance the junior team had of making it from Pool ‘B' evaporated as Railways came to the fore. All that Railways required was a draw against the Namdhari XI to keep out the defending champion. And it did just that to ensure its berth from Pool pushing the Army XI out of contention. It was not an easy for the Railways. The Namdharis gave nothing away. In fact, the team got off to brilliant start with Gurmeet Singh netting even before the game was a minute old. But the lead did not last long as Jayakaran leveled.

Brisk exchanges

Brisk exchanges marked the next phase until Balwinder Singh drove home from of the top of the circle raising a doubt in the mind of the umpire whether the player was within the ring at the time of the strike. He had to confer with the colleague before awarding the goal.

Looking out for openings and the elusive goal, Indian Railways did everything in its power to stamp one. And Innocent Kullu rose to the occasion with a perfect penalty corner. Railways hung on to this till the final minute weathering many a dominating spell from the Namdharis.

Inexperience caused the India Juniors dear as Punjab National Bank picked full points to join IOC in the semifinal. The 2-0 verdict for PNB was enough ensure the second spot in Pool ‘B'.

Bruno Lugan put PNB on the road to victory with a fine goal early in the first half. A penalty corner hit by Satpal close on half time sealed the fate of the India Juniors.

It was heartening sight to witness goal-keeper Baljit Singh getting a full match and making a few fine saves. Baljit is making a valiant attempt to stage a comeback after the devastating eye injury in the training camp at Pune last year.

With the place in semifinal assured IOC was content just to control the pace and pick up enough goals to maintain the winning sequence without dropping a point to finish on top of Pool ‘B' with 12 points from four matches.

Friday is a rest day.

The results: PNB 2 (Bruno Lugan, Satpal) bt India Juniors 0; Namdhari XI 2 (Gurmeet Singh, Balwinder Singh) drew with Indian Railways 2 (Jayakaran, Innocent Kullu); IOC 5 (Roshan Minz 2, Hamza Mujtaba, Raghunath, Deepak Thakur) bt BPCL 1 (Jarnail Singh). Pool ‘A' (Team, Played, Won, Drawn, Lost, Goals For, Goals Against, Points): ONGC, 4, 3, 0, 1, 12, 7, 9; Indian Railways 4-2-2-0-11-9-8; Army 4-2-1-1-16-16-7; Namdhari XI 4-0-2-2-9-12-2; Karnataka 4-0-1-3-13-17-1. Pool ‘B': IOC 4-4-0-0-18-4-12; Punjab National Bank 4-3-0-1-11-8-9; BPCL, 4-1-1-2-11-11-4; India Juniors, 4-1-1-2-2-6-4; Karnataka 4-0-1-3-13-17-1; Southern Railway 4-0-0-4-2-15-0.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 5:05:03 PM |

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