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Punjab & Sind Bank, Western Rly. in final
Our Correspondent | March 11, 2004 20:54 IST
Defending champions Indian Airlines crashed out in the penultimate round of the Union Bank-sponsored 42nd Bombay Gold Cup Hockey Tournament, co-sponsored by Punjab National Bank and State Bank.
The oft-crowned champs went down fighting to Punjab and Sind Bank 4-3 via a 'golden' goal at the BHA-Mahindra stadium on Thursday.
After the teams shared six goals during 70 absorbing minutes of the semi-final, Navpreet Singh emerged the hero for the Punjab side, to take them to their eighth final in ten tournaments they participated this season.
The tall left-half scored the crucial 'golden' goal from Punjab and Sind Bank's 10th penalty-corner in the seventh minute of the first period of extra-time to clinch victory and a shot at the top prize of Rs 100,000.
Punjab and Sind Bank, who have won four titles this year, will clash with Mumbai challengers Western Railway in the final on Friday.
Western 'stroked' out a doughty Army XI 4-3 via the tie-breaker after both teams failed to produce a goal during normal time and 15 minutes of extra-time.
Western Railway custodian Suraj Kanta once again played a stellar role for his team. Kanta, who had effected three saves in the penalty-strokes' duel against Border Security Force in the quarter-finals, came with two more superb saves off the fourth and fifth attempts of Army XI to steer his side to the summit round.
For Western, Gurusev Singh, Rajesh Chatruvedi, I.S. Negi and Shanta Kumar successfully converted their penalty strokes. Only an injured Shivendra Singh failed to score as Army goalkeeper P.T. Rao made a fine save.
Army XI scored from their first three attempts through Suresh Kumar, Harpreet Singh and
Shanta Kumar then made no mistake in converting the fifth try to seal victory for the Western Railway.
Earlier, Indian Airlines comprising a mixture of former internationals and current junior
The Punjab side showed better coordination and always looked dangerous on the break. But, Indian Airlines goalkeeper Ashish Balal came to the rescue of his team with some fine saves.
Indian Airlines forged ahead through Girish Pimpale in the 14th minute. But it did not take the bankmen too long to restore parity as Sandeep Singh found the target from an indirect variation from their fourth penalty-corner in the 22nd minute.
Four minutes later, Indian Airlines regained the lead when drag flick specialist Sandeep Singh scored from their first penalty-corner. The Punjab side again found the equaliser when Ajit Pal Singh converted a penalty stroke, which was awarded by umpire P Sudhakaran after
The Punjab outfit for the first time in the match went ahead when Baljit Singh Chandi's snap hit from the right deflected off goalkeeper Balal's stick and went in. However, Chandi will miss the final as he received his second yellow card in the tournament.
Indian Airlines fought back and managed to draw level through another penalty-corner conversion by Sandeep Singh to send the match into extra-time.
Ballal, who had brought off some brilliant saves, was completely beaten by Navpreet Singh's low push, which sent Indian Airlines crashing out.