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Punjab Police win Nehru Cup
November 25, 2004 20:38 IST
Punjab Police held their nerve in the tie-breaker to prevail over Border Security Force 4-3 in the final and clinch the Nehru Cup hockey title at New Delhi on Thursday.
The dreary final saw both the teams playing much below their potential and failing to score even once during the regulation and the extra time, leaving the fate of the match to be decided on penalty shoot-out.
Punjab Police made amends for veteran Baljit Singh Dhillon's miss in the tie-breaker by converting all other four attempts while their opponents faltered twice to finish second best.
BSF's third shot taken by Mukhjinder Singh went wide while Raj Singh, who appeared nervous while taking the final attempt, hit straight to goalkeeper Manpreet Singh.
Jugraj Singh, Prabhdeep Singh, Gagan Ajit Singh and Daljit Singh Dhillon scored for the winners while seven-time winners BSF scored through Harbhajan Singh, Devinder Kumar and Marinus Lakra.
This was Punjab Police's third Nehru Cup title in a row but their first win over BSF in the final of the competition. They have so far won the tournament seven times.
Earlier, Indian Oil got some consolation after their semi-final loss with a stunning 5-4 win over Bharat Petroleum to secure the third position.
The final was almost a repeat of yesterday's last four match between Indian Oil and BSF. But the major difference was the result which went against BSF.
Punjab Police controlled the game for most part of the match and came close to scoring on a number of occasions, but all their attempts to take the lead failed in the face of some fine goalkeeping by K M Subbaiah.
Punjab Police showed flashes of brilliance in the first 10 minutes of the match and created some fine moves from both the flanks. With the Police team intensifying the heat, Daljit and Mukhjinder broke into a verbal duel, prompting umpire Javed Sheikh to suspend them temporarily.
But soon the game developed into a drab affair with both the teams failing to produce anything exciting that was expected of them before the start of the game.
The proceeding was quite dull and even the presence of national coach Gerhard Rach failed to enthuse the players.
"I did not see anyone being impressive. Baljit Dhillon looked the most skilled of the lot, but he too appeared to be playing for a veteran's team," Rach told reporters after the match.
"May be the pressure of playing in the final took a toll on the players," said Rach, who came to Delhi last night from Chandigarh, where the Indian camp for the Champions Trophy is under progress.