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Thakur golden goal gives IOC title
December 03, 2003 19:05 IST
A golden goal by India forward Deepak Thakur enabled Indian Oil beat Indian Airlines 2-1 in the final and win the Lal Bahadur Shastri hockey title in Delhi on Wednesday.
After the score was tied 1-1 at the end of the regulation time, Thakur scored the all-important goal from a penalty-corner five minutes into extra-time as Airlines' jinx in the final of major domestic tournaments continued.
But today Indian Airlines had themselves to blame for the debacle, which came close on the heels of their Nehru Cup final loss to Punajb Police last week. They failed to play to their full potential and frittered away umpteen chances in the last few minutes of regulation time. They sorely missed the services of captain Dilip Tirkey, whose absence led to defensive lapses which were fully exploited by the Indian Oil forwards.
Indian Airlines even blew away the lead given to them in the very first minute of the match by Arjun Halappa. Their senior-most player Mukesh Kumar could have clinched the issue but he failed to score what looked like a sure goal minutes before the hooter indicated the end of regulation time.
Indian Oil also had their share of chances to close out the match before extra-time but, like their opponents, poor finishing was their undoing.
"We should have won the match in regulation time itself and the margin should have been at least three goals," Indian Oil coach A K Bansal said after the match.
"No doubt we were the better side today, but we missed some chances, which took the match to extra-time," he added.
Indian Oil, who restored parity through player-of-the-tournament Prabhjot Singh's brilliant reverse flick in the tenth minute, could only score from one of the six penalty-corners they forced.
They employed different variations but all failed. Besides, Airlines goalkeeper Jagdish Ponappa proved hard to beat.
Airlines, who appeared listless for most part of the match, applied pressure in the last five minutes of the second half, during which they forced three of their four penalty-corners, but failed to convert even one.
They also came really close on few other occasions, including once in the 61st minute when Mukesh Kumar, on a counter attack, got a pass inside the circle from Brojen Singh with only goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan to beat. But the veteran striker managed only a wild shot that
landed in the gallery much to the disappointment of his team mates.
"The last few minutes they upped the tempo and made some attacks on our post. But, thankfully, they failed to convert their chances," Chauhan, also the captain of the team, said.
It was a highly forgettable outing for Mukesh Kumar as he struggled to control the ball right through the match and failed to give finishing touches more than once.
He also got a yellow card and was ejected from the field for five minutes for pulling down Viren Rasquinha in mid-field in the 51st minute.
Earlier, Indian Oil's Jaswinder Singh also received temporary suspension.
Rasquinha, who played his heart out in the midfield, was out of the ground when Thakur scored the golden goal. A few minutes earlier he collided with well-built Airlines defender Rajnish Mishra and got injured.
"His entire body impact was on my thigh. At the moment it is very painful. I don't know the extent of injury right now, but I hope to be fit soon," said Rasquinha, a regular member of the Indian team.