Hockey

Deepak Thakur stars in IOC’s win

RELIEVED LOT: The Mumbai team members celebrate after a last-gasp goal from Manpreet secured it a draw against CAG.Photo: M. Vedhan

RELIEVED LOT: The Mumbai team members celebrate after a last-gasp goal from Manpreet secured it a draw against CAG.Photo: M. Vedhan  

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IOB suffers its second successive defeat; Mumbai holds CAG

Indian Oil Corporation, undoubtedly, has the best line-up of stars in the competition. As anyone will tell you, the defending champion is easily the team to beat in the 89th all-India MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament here, but its performance so far has been nothing to rave about.

After managing a draw against Karnataka the other day, IOC survived by the skin of its teeth when it edged out Namdhari XI 2-1 in a Pool A match here on Saturday. It was bailed out by its skipper Deepak Thakur’s brace.

With the teams locked 1-1 and just five minutes remaining for the hooter, Deepak struck for IOC. A costly defensive lapse saw Deepak, who had parked himself near the goal-mouth, slot home.

Earlier, Indian Overseas Bank — runner-up in the last edition — went down 4-1 to Indian Railways — the National champion — in a Pool B contest. With its second successive defeat, IOB’s chances of qualifying for the knock-outs look remote. Mumbai, one of the youngest teams in the tournament, salvaged a 2-2 draw with a last-minute goal against CAG in their opening Pool A match.

Manpreet Singh with his brace was crucial in Mumbai sharing honours with CAG. Just when it looked like Mumbai, which was bristling with energy and enthusiasm for the major part of the first half, would go on to lose the match came the stunner. With seconds to go for the final whistle, Manpreet struck a near-perfect penalty corner that found the roof of the net.

One of the best managed sides in the State and perhaps the country, Indian Overseas Bank is going through a lean patch. Lack of recruitments and injuries to key players have put the team in an uncomfortable position.

More than the defeat to Railways, it was the manner of losing that would have hurt the team’s supporters. Neither was there any push from the midfield, nor did the attack have the teeth to convert the opportunities. After the long goal by Rafeeq in the first minute, it was a Railways show all the way. IOB has two more matches against Punjab and Sind Bank and SAIL.

The results:

Pool A: IOC 2 (Deepak Thakur 16 & 25) bt Namdhari XI 1 (Avtar Singh 18); Mumbai 2 (Manpreet Singh 13 & 70+) drew with CAG 2 (Azam Baig 54, Chandan Singh 58).

Pool B: Indian Railways 4 (Narad 1, Sandeep Singh 50, Simrandeep Singh 62, Vinod Kumar 64) bt IOB 1 (S.M. Rafeeq 1).

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 2:54:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/deepak-thakur-stars-in-iocs-win/article7438994.ece

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