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Punjab cops, BP in semis

November 23, 2003 20:52 IST

Defending champions Punjab Police survived some anxious moments before prevailing over IndianOil 3-2 via a golden goal in the quarter-final of the 40th ONGC-Nehru Hockey Tournament at the Shivaji Stadium in Delhi on Sunday.

In the semi-finals, the Jalandhar team will face Bharat Petroleum, who defeated Punjab and Sind Bank 5-4, also through a golden goal.

The Punjab Police team, which was on the defensive for 14 minutes of extra-time, held its nerve and earned a penalty-corner in the last minute and Olympian Baljit Singh Dhillon made no mistake to take his team a step closer to the title.

Punjab Police, led by forward Gagan Ajit Singh, grabbed the initiative from the outset with their forwards not only keeping the Indian Oil custodian Devesh Chauhan busy but also earning two penalty-corners.

But it was Indian Oil who nearly scored in the 24th minute through a penalty-corner. However, DeepakThakur's goal was disallowed by referee H S Sodhi since his hit went into the into the net instead of sounding the board.

The defending champions were lucky to go into the break with a solitary goal lead thanks to an opportunistic deflection by Gagan Ajit in the 29th minute off a free-hit by Pardeep Singh.

Indian Oil came back strongly in the second half and forced the Police team on defensive. But the good work their mid-field was squandered by the forwards who failed to connect the passes.

The equaliser for Indian Oil came in the 37th minute through a penalty-corner when Prabhjot Singh took advantage of a rebound to place the ball into the net.

A one-to-one between Gagan Ajit and Tejbir Singh saw the latter scoring a brilliant goal through a reverse flick for the winners in the 48th minute but Bikramjit Singh restored parity with a direct.

Penalty-corner conversion in the 63rd minute to take the game into extra-time.

Earlier, Len Aiyappa of Bharat Petroleum once again displayed his proficiency in penalty-corner conversions to send the high-scoring Punjab and Sind Bank packing.

Aiyappa, who had converted all three penalty-corners in his team's last league match, made no mistake with the chance he received in the eighth minute of extra-time to take his team into the last four.

Bharat Petroleum, who went into the breather with a 1-2 deficit, went for the kill in the second half and were in the driver's seat by the 54th minute, leading the tie 4-2. But the bankmen were not ready to surrender and restored parity to force the tie into extra-time.

Amay Aiyamma (5th minute), Tushar Khandekar (47th) Len Ayappa (48th, 78th) and Sandeep Michael (54th) scored for the winners while Jatinder Singh (4th), Parminder Singh (19th), Sharanjit Singh (59th) and Ajit Pal Singh (67th) found the net for the losers.

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