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Indian Airlines, Indian Oil in final
December 02, 2003 18:09 IST
Indian Airlines scored thrice in the first 20 minutes and then staved off a late fightback from Air India to register a 3-2 victory and enter the final in the Shastri hockey tournament in Delhi on Tuesday.
Junior India player Girish Pimpale and senior international Arjun Halappa starred in Airlines' victory over the defending champions at the Shivaji Stadium.
In the final, to be played tomorrow, Indian Airlines will take on Indian Oil, who prevailed over Bharat Petroleum 2-1 in a keenly contested semi-final earlier in the day.
Indian Oil scored once each in either half through Deepak Thakur (20th minute) and Prabhjot Singh (66th) while BPCL's lone goal was scored by Sandeep Michael (62nd).
The second semi-final saw Indian Airlines, keen to avenge their title loss against the same side in last year's tournament, start well despite the absence of star players Dhanraj Pillay and Dilip Tirkey.
The team dominated the proceedings in the first few minutes though they missed a few opportunities that came their way.
They missed two penalty-corners in the sixth and seventh minutes and then Halappa made a mess of a chance in the 10th minute.
Sameer Dad's cross from near the 25-yard line was not neatly trapped by Halappa, who only had the goalkeeper to beat.
But two minutes later Halappa made amends as he beautifully intercepted a cross from Vimal Lakra and hit powerfully to find the top left corner of the net.
Seven minutes later, Airlines got their third penalty-corner which was successfully converted by Pimpale, who made the score 3-0 in the next minute with a brilliant field goal.
Air India, who had rarely attacked the Airlines goal till then, got their act together after conceding the third goal and their hard work earned them a penalty-corner in the 28th minute, which Jitender Saroha fully utilised.
In the second half, Air India attacked relentlessly and earned a penalty-stroke in the 46th minute. Surinder Kundu made no mistake from the spot, comprehensively beating Airlines 'keeper Jagdish Ponappa to score his team's second goal.
In the last few minutes, Air India desperately tried for the equaliser, but Airlines guarded their citadel well and move into the final.