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Air India to meet Indian Airlines in semis
December 01, 2003 19:21 IST
Air India were held 1-1 by Pakistan's Star Hockey Club today but the draw was enough to catapult the Indian side into the semi-finals of the Lal Bahadur Shastri hockey tournament in Delhi on Monday.
Air India will play title favourites Indian Airlines in the semi-finals tomorrow.
In the other semi-final, BPCL will take on Indian Oil, who swamped Indian Navy 4-1 in a league game at the Shivaji Stadium.
The Pakistani side needed a victory to advance to the knockout stage and they played their heart out in achieving that end but in vain.
The defending champions, who had won their two earlier matches, dashed the visitors' hopes by taking a vital point that they required for a semi-final berth.
The well-contested match saw both teams dishing out an attacking game from the beginning but despite several attacks could not find any success till the breather.
After the break the Indian team upped the tempo a bit. Air India's regular attacks paid off when captain Davinder Kumar converted a penalty-corner in the 47th minute.
Air India managed to hold on to the lead till the 64th minute but a little complacency in the last few minutes saw the Pakistani side win a penalty-corner which was converted by Sarfaraz.
Both sides tried their best for the winner in the dying minutes and the Pakistani team, which had an impressive outing in the tournament, even came close to snatching it. But they messed up with the penalty-corner earned in the last minute and bowed out of the competition.
Earlier, Indian Oil dominated the match throughout for a comprehensive win over Navy.
They scored through Bikramjeet Singh (3rd, 36th minutes), Prabhjot SIngh (22nd) and Deepak Thakur 65th), while Navy's consolation goal came from Sikender Singh (49th).