Hockey

IOC overcomes Indian Army

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PSB holds Indian Railways

Defending champion Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) was pushed to the limits by a resolute Indian Army in its first Group-A match of the MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup All-India hockey tournament here on Saturday. However, like a true champion, IOC scripted a well-deserved 3-2 victory.

Earlier, Punjab National Bank (PNB) outwitted Indian Air Force 2-1 in Group-A before Punjab and Sind Bank (PSB) produced a fine display to hold National champion Indian Railways to a 1-1 draw in Group-B.

Proving himself

Gurjinder Singh has generally been a big-match player for IOC and he proved it once again with a well-angled drag flick off a penalty corner for the decisive goal in the 56th minute.

Backed by a quick Affan Yousuf in the middle and supported by Roshan Minz, Talwinder Singh and Armaan Qureshi, it was a treat watching IOC in action.

Army was resolute, defended well, and counter-attacked too. Despite being at the receiving end in the first quarter, it was Army which opened the scoring. A deft deflection by Jitender Rathee found the target.

IOC had four penalty corners in the second quarter and converted one in the third through Qureshi, which resulted in the equaliser.

The spadework for the second goal for IOC came from S.K. Uthappa. He produced a fine run from the 25-yard-line and back-passed it to Affan who slotted it home.

Army’s best chance

Army had probably the best chance in the third quarter but Sanjay Toppo missed a sitter in front of an open goal. Immediately, the army men earned a stroke but this time Chandan Aind’s shot was saved by IOC ’keeper Pankaj Rajak.

Army finally drew level again through Sukhdeep Singh off a penalty corner.

Gurjinder struck the winner from the team’s sixth corner to give IOC a morale-boosting win.

Army can take heart from the fact that its custodian Akash Chikte effected several fine saves, off penalty corner shots from V.R. Raghunath and Gurjinder.

The results:

Group-A: IOC 3 (Armaan Qureshi 19, Affan Yousuf 32, Gurjinder Singh 56) bt Indian Army 2 (Jitender Rathee 15, Sukhdeep Singh 53); PNB 2 (Satender Dalal 14, Sukhjeet Singh 32) bt IAF 1 (Ajit Pandit 40).

Group-B: PSB 1 (Gaganpreet Singh 35) drew with Railways 1 (P.R. Aiyappa 38).

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 7:33:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/ioc-overcomes-indian-army/article29310321.ece

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