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SCR, IOC in Tegh Bahadur hockey final

Early advantage:IOC forward Sukhjeet Singh (centre) strikes in the semifinal against Punjab Police.Special Arrangement

Early advantage:IOC forward Sukhjeet Singh (centre) strikes in the semifinal against Punjab Police.Special Arrangement  

Indian Oil Corporation outscored Punjab Police 4-1 to confirm a place in Tuesday’s clash for the title in the 13th PCM Guru Tegh Bahadur Gold Cup all-India hockey tournament. In the other semifinal, South Central Railway (SCR) quelled a spirited challenge from Army XI 3-2 at the MHAL-Mahindra stadium, Churchgate.

The first semifinal between Mumbai-based IOC and Jalandhar-based Punjab Police, two sides packed with internationals, produced five goals in all. Deepak Thakur, leading the oilmen, displayed goal-poaching instincts, in tandem with Prabhjot Singh, who netted one goal.

Sukhjeet Singh and Sunil Yadav scored to give IOC the upper hand early. Dharamvir Singh reduced the margin for the cops, captained by Gurbaj Singh.

Punjab Police came out firing in the second half, but forwards Thakur and Prabhjot teamed up to score the third goal, the latter nipping in to divert home a deflected pass by the latter, who got his name on the score sheet with a deflection into the net to seal the win.

The railway side from Secunderabad, marshalled by M.G. Poonacha, surged into the lead with its captain slamming home a rebound off a penalty corner. The Bengaluru-based Army XI drew level via a drag flick strike by Chandan Aind.

Rahul Kumar Yadav scored the best goal of the tie, an angular, wristy hit to the roof of the net from near the right post after a run in to the goalmouth.

SCR upped its game when it mattered to level the score via a field goal from Raju Pal. Gagandeep Singh dragged home a penalty corner for the match-winner.

The result: Semifinals: IOC, Mumbai 4 (Sukhjeet Singh, Sunil Yadav, Deepak Thakur, Prabhjot Singh) bt Punjab Police 1 (Dharamvir Singh) .

SCR, Secunderabad 3 (M.G. Poonacha, Raju Pal, Gagandeep Singh) bt Army XI, Bengaluru 2 (Chandan Aind, Rahul Kumar Yadav).

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