Air India, IOCL prevail in Murugappa Gold Cup hockey

September 4th, 2008 - 9:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Sep 4 (IANS) Air India, looking far from impressive, were given a run for their money before winning 4-1 against Army XI in a pool B match of the All-India MCC Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament here Thursday.The star-studded Air India began well, scoring through penalty corner specialist Sandeep Singh (7th), Girish Ponnappa (18th) and Bruno (30th), and looked well on way to a big win with the Army deep defence appearing rather tentative.

However, Army XI displayed a lot of character and spirit to pull one back through their long striding forward Armugam, who was left unmarked at the top of the circle, in the 30th minute .

The Air India defence, manned by the experienced Dilip Tirkey and Sandeep Singh, were repeatedly stretched by the flowing Army moves which, however, proved abortive.

Army XI left the back open and Cheenayanna found the boards off a Akmal pass in the 68th minute.

In fact, Army XI had the better of chances but a couple of dangerous crosses from the wings went unattended as also three penalty corners.

Earlier, in a pool A match, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd struggled to a 3-2 win against local challengers Indian Overseas Bank.

Former international Adam Sinclair deflected a Muthuselvan penalty corner to give IOB a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute, but IOCL equalised in the 25th minute when Raghunath converted a penalty corner as the teams took the break 1-1.

Muthuselvan came good with a penalty corner to give IOB the lead again in the 42nd minute only to see IOCL catch up two minutes later as Raghunath drag-flicked a penalty corner.

Thereafter, the exchanges were fairly even and even as a draw loomed large, Prabhjot Singh connected Inderjit Chadda’s pass inside the circle for IOCL’s match-winner with two minutes left on the clock.

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