SPORT

Big win for Indian Airlines

LETTING ONE THROUGH: Indian Airlines' Brojen Singh (foreground) slots one past the goalkeeper in the senior National hockey championship. — Photo: H. Satish

LETTING ONE THROUGH: Indian Airlines' Brojen Singh (foreground) slots one past the goalkeeper in the senior National hockey championship. — Photo: H. Satish  

HYDERABAD, MARCH 17. Defending champion Indian Airlines began its campaign in the 61st senior National hockey championship for the Rangaswamy Cup, in style with an easy 8-2 win over Maharashtra at the Begumpet Police Stadium here on Thursday.

In a lop-sided encounter, Airlines shot into lead in the very second minute when Arjun Halappa converted a penalty-stroke awarded after a Maharashtra defender tried to stick-check the advancing Altar-ul-Rehman from behind inside the penalty area. Two minutes later, Samir Dad banged home from the left of the `D' after his one-to one effort with Altaf. Even before the rivals could recover Airlines scored the third goal when Altaf latched on a neat through pass from Halappa on the right flank, and essayed an angular shot which deflected off goalkeeper Wahid Pathan's pads in the 12th minute.

Then there was something to cheer about for Maharashtra when it reduced the margin through Amol Bhosale, who showed presence of mind to trap a long ball and dribble into the striking zone to find the target. But for that effort Airlines captain Ashish Ballal had a cool time as he was rarely tested.

Just before the break, Airlines struck twice. Altaf essayed a lovely pass to Sanjay Bir on the right corner who in turn relayed a long cross to the waiting Brojen Singh who connected the ball into the goal. Then Arjun Halappa scored his second goal from close range to make it 5-1 at half-time.

The script never changed as Airlines continued to dominate despite the absence of Dhanraj Pillay and Sandeep Michael, who are expected to join the team later, and injured Vikram Pillay. The fancied outfit struck thrice in the second session through Virender and Arjun Halappa (2). The only consolation for Maharashtra was that it reduced the margin when Sunil Shipure was on target after a good move by Amol Bhosla who dribbled his way through a crowded defence only to see his hit blocked by the goalkeeper. But Sunil who was lurking around capitalised on that lapse.

The results: Pool A: Indian Airlines 8 (Arjun Halappa 4, Sameer Dad, Altaf-ul-Rehman, Brojen Singh, Virender) bt Maharashtra 2 (Amol Bhosale, Sunil Shipure); Universities bt Patiala 3-0 (Mejor Singh 3).

Pool B: Pondicherry 3 (G. Senthil, Kamala Kannan, Jaywees) bt Rajasthan 2 (Arvind Dalot, Pavitra Singh); Chandigarh drew with Mumbai 0-0.

Pool C: Punjab bt Madhya Pradesh 11-0 (Gagan Ajit Singh 7, Prabhdeep Singh, Kuljeet Singh, Harmik Singh).

Pool D: Manipur 5 (P. Adeba, Th. Birjit 2, Th. Thompok 2) bt Chattisgarh 2 (Aman Khan, Md Ajaz Qureshi); Bhopal Blues 1 (Imran Ali) drew with Andhra 1 (M.S.Arun Ravi Kumar 1). Pool E: Bhopal Reds bt Haryana 3-0 (B.Bhangara, Rajesh Guleria, Jayram Kujur).

Pool F: Vidarbha 3 (Sandeep Magolkar, Pousat Singh Chaman, Dhiraj Wagh) bt Mizoram 1 (Lalhandama).

Pool G: Tripura bt Nagaland 1-0 (Mahananda Kindo); Hyderabad 4 (S.Rajasekhar, C.R.Chandan Singh, Hardeep Singh 2) bt Kerala 1 (K.Anish).

Pool H: J & K 2 (Mandeep Singh, Prabhjot Singh) bt Karnataka 1 (K.M. Somayya);Orissa w\o Assam.

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