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Namdharis ground Indian Airlines

October 31, 2006 08:01 IST

Namdhari XI came up with a lion-hearted performance to beat Indian Airlines by a solitary goal in their Super League Pool A outing in the 62nd National Hockey Championship at the Olympian Surjit Hockey Stadium in Jalandhar on Monday.

The all-important goal was scored by Sher Singh in the 39th minute.

Namdhari, who had shocked strong contenders Punjab in their first match, completed their Super League engagements with an all-win record and qualified for the semi-finals.

Indian Airlines had the upper hand, which is evident from five penalty-corners awarded to them -- in the 15th, 18th, 33rd, 48th and 66th minutes. However, they failed to take advantage of these opportunities and bowed out of the tournament.

Indian Airlines, captained by Olympian Sameer Dad and having big guns like Dhanraj Pillay, Arjun Halappa, Vikram Pillay, Sandeep Michael and Adrian D' Souza in their line-up, were today denied a goal by stubborn Namdhari defence.

With defending champions Punjab and Sind Bank having already qualified for semi-finals from Pool D, only academic interest was left in the match between Chandigarh and Services which the latter won 2-0 and finished their league engagements with one win and one loss. Chandigarh bowed out after two defeats.

Services scored both their goals in the first half.

Rajesh Lakra converted Services' second penalty-corner in the 14th minute while Elazer Lakra made the issue safe by scoring a field goal in the 28th minute.

Meanwhile, in a high-scoring Super League Pool C match, Delhi got the better of Mumbai 5-4 after trailing 2-1 at half-time. Thirteen penalty-corners and three penalty-strokes were awarded in the match.

It was Mumbai which drew the first blood in the second minute through a field goal scored by Stanley Fernandes. Delhi retaliated and neutralised the lead in the 12th minute through a field scored by captain Bikas Toppo. Mumbai again forged ahead with a penalty-corner goal, scored by Vikas Pillay.

Delhi then went all out and scored three goals in a row. Ajitesh Rai made it 2-2 in the 38th minute and Damandeep Singh scored in the 40th (penalty stroke) and 47th minutes. Mumbai were awarded a penalty stroke in the 53rd minute and A Yesur made no mistake to make it 3-4.

Delhi were awarded another penalty stroke in the 54th minute and Jitender Sharda converted it (5-3). Five minutes before the long whistle, Mumbai forced a penalty-corner and Nilesh reduced the margin (4-5).

Wednesday's fixtures: Delhi vs Air India, Tamil Nadu vs Railways, Punjab vs Indian Airlines.