Navy drubs Railways, enters semifinals

On a run: Indian Navy’s Jugraj Singh, right, in action against Indian Railways on Wednesday.

On a run: Indian Navy’s Jugraj Singh, right, in action against Indian Railways on Wednesday.  


Army scripts first win of the tournament; IOC also makes last four

Indian Railways has been a team that plays with an attacking mindset and with a swagger normally associated with a champion team. But seldom in the recent past of the MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament has its record been as patchy as this year.

The 3-0 defeat to Indian Navy in their final Group-B tie here on Wednesday meant that the reigning National champion has just five points from four matches. Later in a Group-A match, Indian Army beat Indian Air Force 2-1, for its first win. Both Army and Air Force are out of the reckoning.

Hope against hope

For Railways to reach the semifinals, Punjab and Sind Bank (four points) should draw with Central Secretariat (three points) in their last group contest on Thursday, and it should hope against hope that it goes through to the knockout stage on the basis of goal difference.

This was Railways’ first tournament of the season. With the majority of the players being new-comers, none could rise to the occasion.

On the other hand, Navy has been the best team in its group. A young and fit team, it has won the admiration of one and all, with a fine team effort sans any star player. With 10 points from four, it has entered the semifinals in style.

The Air Force and Army match had the dubious distinction of having the first red card of the tournament, after Rahul Rajbhar of Air Force allegedly hit Army’s Chandan Aind with his stick on the nasal part injuring the latter with a few seconds remaining in the second quarter.

Glitches galore

It is reliably learnt that for a minimum of three minutes towards the end of second quarter, 12 players instead of the mandatory 11 were on the field that escaped the eyes of the on-field umpires and technical bench.

Action didn’t resume after the second half as both the teams complained of poor light. There was reportedly a problem with the organisers’ generator that took around 40 minutes to set things right. The third quarter which was supposed to start at 5.15 p.m. started at 5.50 p.m.

The third and final match between IOC and Bengaluru HA also witnessed a delay of more than 30 minutes due to generator problem. But that didn’t stop the defending champion IOC from entering the semifinals with a 4-1 victory. IOC has nine points from three matches with one match in hand against Punjab National Bank.

The results: Group-A: Indian Army 2 (Prathap Shindhe 45, Vishwa Thakur 49) bt Indian Air Force 1 (Jagat Nachana 8); IOC 4 (Affan Yousuf 15 , Armaan Qureshi 45, S.K. Uthappa 59, Rahil Mosin 60) bt Bengaluru HA 1 (Nithin Thimmaiah 52).

B: Indian Navy 3 (Ajinkya Yadav 32, Pawan Rajbhar 37, Jugraj Singh 59) bt Indian Railways 0.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 7:37:44 PM |

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