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IOC rally to enter semis
January 27, 2004 19:23 IST
Indian Oil Corporation came from behind twice to hold group leaders Punjab and Sind Bank to a thrilling 3-3 draw and book a place in the semi-finals of the All India DDA Invitational Hockey Tournament at the Shivaji Stadium in Delhi on Tuesday.
In the semi-finals, IOC will play Punjab Police while Punjab and Sind Bank, who went into the match today already assured of a berth in the last-four, will take on Army XI in the semis.
Needing just a draw from their final league encounter in Pool B, IOC preferred to guard their fort and were successful in the first-half as they went into the break without disturbing the score line.
But two minutes into the second half, PSB took the lead through Ajit Pal Singh, forcing IOC to change their plan of action, which paid dividends when Kamlesh Parihar restored parity in the 53rd minute.
PSB again went into lead in the 55th minute when Parminder Singh beat custodian Baljeet Singh and increased it further in the 63rd through a penalty-stroke by Rajwinder Singh.
Not prepared to concede defeat, IOC fought back valiantly and won a penalty-stroke in the 66th minute. Their skipper Inder Singh Salaria converted to reduce the margin (2-3).
With just two minutes left for the hooter, Rajpal Singh converted a penalty-corner to ensure his team a berth in the last four.
In the other matches, Punjab Police beat Army XI 1-0, Border Security Force defeated Oil and Natural Gas Corporation 5-2 while Central Industrial Security Force held Air India to a 2-2 draw.
In fact, Air India were to blame for ruining their chances of making it to the last four as they allowed CISF to come back from a 2-0 deficit. The draw meant that Air India finished with two points from three encounters, leaving IOC needing just a draw against PSB in the ensuing tie for the semi-final berth.
Roshan Tete scored a brace (19th, 53rd) for Air India while Cyril Ekka and Pravez Ahsan sounded the board for CISF.
In the final league encounter between Punjab Police and Army XI, none of the teams pressed too hard as both were assured of semi-final berths by virtue of two victories in the previous league encounters.
Gurjan Singh converted Punjab Police's best chance in the 53rd minute to maintain a cent per cent record and top Pool A.