Tatas and CESC through to final

MADURAI, JULY 20. Tata Electric Company (TEC), Mumbai and Calcutta Electricity Supply Corporation (CESC) stormed into the final of the 27th All India Electricity Board hockey tournament in contrasting styles at the MGR Race Course stadium here on Thursday.

While Tatas beat the host, Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB), 3-2, in an exciting game for its maiden entry into the final, CESC prevailed over Punjab 7-6 via sudden death in an absorbing encounter after the teams shared two goals in the regulation time and six goals in the tie-breaker.

The Tata-TNEB tie started on a fast note with both the teams engaging themselves in attacks and counter attacks. There was some rough play in between but the umpires checked it effectively by flashing the yellow card three times.

The TNEB goal fell in the last seconds before the breather. Madan receiving a pass from Clarence Lobo near the centre, went to the left corner and sent a fine centre which Raj Bagade deflected into the net neatly.

On resumption, TNEB exerted pressure and forced its fourth penalty corner in the fourth minute and Shafeeq found the equaliser with a blistering shot. Encouraged by this success, the TNEB forwards made some constructive forays and in the 11th minute outside-right Elango sent a perfect centre, which inside- right Selvakumar stopped and passed to Shafeeq to deflect into the goal.

Tatas found the equaliser in the 22nd minute through a penalty stroke conversion by Shredhar. In the next two minutes Azad Khan scored the third goal for Tatas with a solo effort. The rest of the time saw TNEB going all out for the equaliser but it eluded till the end.

In the other match, which was devoid of thrills, Punjab went into the lead in the sixth minute with a spectacular goal scored with a reverse flick by outside-left Hardial Singh. Though CESC mounted constant pressure on the Punjab defence thereafter, it had to wait till the sixth minute of the second half for the equaliser. Centre-forward Anil Ekka scored off a pass from Christopher Thomas.

From then on both the teams tried hard to get the winner but none could score till the hooter and tie-breaker was resorted to. Sudharsan, Kishorekumar and Christopher Thomas scored for Calcutta and Hardayal Singh, Parminder Singh and Balwant Singh scored for Punjab.

In the sudden death, while the first pair failed to score, the second and third pair scored. Of the fourth pair, while Manjeeth Singh failed to score for Punjab, Kishore Kujur scored and Calcutta won with an aggregate 7-6.