|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
It's IA vs Punjab Police again in the final
November 24, 2003 18:47 IST
Indian Airlines stamped their class on the 40th ONGC-Nehru men's hockey tournament to score a thumping 6-1 win over Tamil Nadu at the Shivaji Stadium, New Delhi, on Monday and enter the final.
Later in the day, defending champions Punjab Police ensured that tomorrow's summit clash will be a repeat of last edition's final by prevailing over Bharat Petroleum 2-0.
It was a virtual goal rush for Airlines in the last 25 minutes when they scored five of their six goals. If not for the south Indian team's custodian Natrajan, the scoreline would have been even more disastrous for the losers.
Skipper Dilip Tirkey (47th, 62nd), Arjun Halappa (15th, 60th), Mukesh Kumar (50th) and Dhanraj Pillay (68) sounded the board for the winners while Laxman Prabhakaran (53rd) scored the consolation goal for Tamil Nadu.
The Tamil Nadu team, which had showed tremendous fighting spirit in its come-from-behind victory over Air-India on Sunday, looked like taking the game to the wire in the first half as it not only held the airmen, but also launched some probing attacks.
In fact, it was the Tamil Nadu XI that had greater ball possession in the first half after international Halappa had given his team the lead in the 15th minute on a through pass by Pillay. But the failure of Arumugam and Jagan Senthil to control the ball in the box cost the Tamil Nadu side dearly as they missed at least three easy scoring chances.
Airlines would have taken a 2-0 lead at the stroke of half-time, but Natrajan brilliantly saved a penalty stroke from Halappa.
Soon after resumption of play in the second half, the airmen made their intentions clear as Pillay and Company kept the opposition defence busy.
Tirkey pushed open the floodgates with a direct penalty-corner conversion in the 37th minute after which there was no looking back for the team which boasts of 16 players with international experience.
The other semi-final between Punjab Police and Bharat Petroleum never gained momentum as neither team made any good move. While Bharat Petroleum concentrated on keeping possession and trying for penalty corners, the Jalandhar team looked satisfied with the few counter attacks that came its way.
Even as the match looked like heading for a goalless draw, international Tejbir Singh deflected a free hit by Paradeep Singh into the net in the 54th minute.
Olympian Baljit Singh Dhillon put the result beyond doubt when he converted the team's seventh penalty corner in the 68th minute.