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Air India shocked by Bhopal XI

April 16, 2003 16:58 IST

Defending champions Air India fell at the first hurdle in the 41st Bombay Gold Cup, losing to Bhopal Eleven 7-6 via the tie-breaker, at the Mahindra stadium in Mumbai, on Wednesday morning.

In another upset of sorts, Karnataka Eleven derailed Central Railway, Mumbai, 6-3, also via the tie-breaker, to qualify for the quarter-final league.

In the first match of the morning, Bhopal were sitting pretty by the 12th minute with a two-goal lead before the home team recovered magnificently to hold the visitors to a 2-2 scoreline at full-time. All the goals came in the first-half.

In the second match, Karnataka, who were leading 2-1 at half-time, were taken to the tie-breaker as Central Railway, thrice in arrears, rallied splendidly to force a 3-3 scoreline at full-time.

Karnataka XI took the lead in the fourth minute through Birender Lakra but Tabrej Sherkhan restored parity for Central Railway in the 30th minute.

Four minutes later, the Karnataka side regained the lead through another field goal from Lakra before the Railwaymen again drew abreast with a penalty-corner conversion by defender Hassibuddin in the 49th minute.

Laxman Rao gave Karnataka XI the lead for third time in the 53rd minute through a field goal but the home team replied again in 56th minute, when Mehrajuddin converted their eighth penalty-corner, to force the tie-breaker.

In the tie-breaker, Laxman Rao, Kuldip Singh and John Verghese scored for the winners while Suresh pushed over.

For the losers Rashid Ali, Tabrej Sherkhan and skipper Mehrajuddin failed to score from the 'spot' for Central Railway, giving the visitors a 6-3 victory.

Karnataka XI's A K Kavin and Suresh were temporarily suspended for rough play while Central Railways' Bendict D'Souza too was shown the yellow card for the same offence.

In the other match, Bhopal XI took the lead in the ninth minute through centre-forward Farzan-Ur-Rehman's field goal and increased it two minutes later when skipper Altaf-Ur-Rehman converted their first penalty-corner.

But the airmen, down by two goals, rallied strongly and pulled one back when defender Anil Aldrin converted their second-penalty corner in the 20th minute. Eight minutes later Davinder Kumar put them on level terms, converting their third penalty-corner.

In the tie-break, Zubar, Irshad Ali, Asad Kamal, Altaf and Osafu-Ur Rehman were bang on target for Bhopal XI while Gurmeet Singh, England import Danny Hayden, Surinder Kundu and Sandeep Michael scored for the losers as Kishore Kumar failed with his 'stroke', pushing over.

Air India skipper Davinder Kumar was shown the yellow card while Altaf and Irshad Ali too were meted out the same treatment for rough play.

In the evening's programme, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Chandigarh, pipped Corps of Signals, Jalandhar 4-2, also via tie-breaker, while EME, Jalandhar, sidelined local outfit Tata Sports Club 3-2 on way to a berth in the quarter-final league.

CISF took the lead in the fifth minute when centre-forward Cyril Ekka scored off a pass from defender Pervez Ahsan. However, Signals equalised in the 51st minute through Paramjeet Singh's indirect conversion of their fifth penalty-corner, forcing the tie-breaker.

In the tie-breaker, Cyril Ekka, defender Bharath Kumar Baghwar and centre-half Irfan Ahmed were bang on target while skipper G V Xaxa pushed over.

For the losers only Ghanshyam Das managed to score while defender Pawan Verma, forwards Suresh Kumar and Rajesh Gukeria were off the target.

In the first match of the afternoon, three goals were scored in three minutes. Centre forward Ronaldo Rodrigues gave the lead to the home side with a field goal in the 12th minute. The very next minute saw EME's forward S Herenj restored parity and in the 14th minute they took the lead when J Kindo converted their first penalty-corner.

In the 58th minute, the visitors increased the lead to 3-1 when Gurmail Singh scored field goal.

With just two minutes to go for the final hooter, Tatas managed to reduce the margin when Asad Khan converted their seventh penalty-corner.

EME, who resorted to rough play at times, saw J Kujur and Gurmail Singh being sent off temporarily with yellow cards.

Tomorrow: Indian Airlines vs Jammu and Kashmir Police; South Central Railway, Secunderabad, vs Indian Oil; Tamil Nadu XI vs Western Railway.