Punjab Police and Namdhari XI recorded hard-fought victories in their opening matches of the semi-final league stage in the 45th Bombay Gold Cup hockey tournament in Mumbai on Thursday.
Former champions Punjab Police came from behind to overcome the spirited challenge of IHF Development XI 2-1, while earlier in the day, Namdhari XI got the better of ONGC by an identical margin.
Taking some time to settle down, Punjab Police did well to recover thanks mainly to a double strike by Jugraj Singh, who once again showed his effectiveness with penalty-corners.
IHF, who were unable to build on the bright start but gave a good account of themselves, had taken the lead through a field goal from Ranjit Singh in the ninth minute.
Figuring in Pool X, Punjab Police will meet reigning champions Army XI in their next match on Saturday.
Things were not much different in the opening match of the day when Namdhari XI too were hardly convincing in their display, being guilty of squandering as many as eight penalty-corners.
Placed directly in the third phase, Namdhari struggled to get things going initially before efforts from Bachitar Singh and Karmjit Singh guided them to victory.
In this Pool Y fixture, where the scores were locked 1-1 at half-time, it was ONGC who grabbed the lead early in the game through Amarjeet Pratap.
Namdhari XI will face Border Security Force, Jalandhar, on Friday while local outfit Air India will take on IHF Development XI in the second match of the day.
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