South Central Railway down Punjab Police
South Central Railway (SCR) Secundrabad dished out another good combined performance and romped to a 4-3 win against Punjab Police in a fast-paced and exciting Pool-A league match of the 13th PMC BankGuru Tegh Bahadur Gold Cup All India Hockey Tournament, played at the MHAL-Mahindra Stadium, Churchgateon Saturday evening.
The southern team finished with an all-win record and topped the pool while Punjab Police who suffered their first defeat finished in second place. Both advanced to last four.
South Central Railway will now take on Pool-B runners-up Army XI in the second semi-final on Monday at 4.30 pm, while Punjab Police will meet Indian Oil in the first semi-final at 2.30 pm.
The Secundrabad outfit took the lead from their second penalty corner when full backs Gagandeep Singh’s drag-flick went in through goalkeeper Harjot Singh’s pads in the 19th minute. However the railwaymen looked to have lost steam towards the end of the first half and the Punjab policemen cashed in on the situation and pushed forward. They repeatedly raided the rival territory and forced few penalty corners and managed to convert two. First Olympian Dharmvir Singh tapped in the rebound after Harbir Sandhu’s try from their third penalty corner was blocked by goalkeeper Sushant Tirkey’s pads in the 27th minute. Two minutes later, Hardeep Singh with a direct hit scored from the fifth penalty corner to give Punjab Police the lead.
SCR restored parity immediately on resumption when Syed Niyaz Rahim scored with a rasping drive from the top of the circle in the 38th minute and 10 minutes later Mayank James scored with an angular hit to help SCR regain the lead. The railwaymen increased the lead with Gagandeep converting another penalty corner in the 62ndminute. The Punjab cops managed to cut the margin when Gurwinder Singh scored from a penalty corner late in the game.
Earlier in a match of no significance, Central Railway after conceding an early goal, managed to turn things around with two strikes from penalty corners in each half to snatch a 2-1 win against MHAL President’s XI in a PoolB encounter. Mayur Patil gave President’s XI an early lead when he scored a field goal in the very sixth minute. But, Central Railway fought back and got the equaliser through Harmeet Singh’s short corner conversion in the 23rd minute before consistent scorer Rajendra Pawar scored the winner from another penalty corner in the 61st minute. There will be no match on Sunday.