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Indian Airlines, Air-India in final

Star-studded Indian Airlines and Air India scored contrasting semi-final victories to set up a title clash in the 13th Shastri hockey tournament in Delhi on Monday.

Indian Airlines walloped Bangladesh XI 6-0, after leading 3-0 at half-time, while Air India 'stroked' out Central Industrial Security Force 5-4 via the tie-breaker.

The final is slated for tomorrow.

Indian Airlines, with nine internationals in their ranks, were simply too superior for Bangladesh XI.

Spearheaded by the mercurial Dhanraj Pillay, they totally dominated the procedings, forcing their opponents on the defensive for most of the time.

Dilip Tirkey (2) Arjun Hallapa, Pillay, Sameer Dad and Prabodh Tirkey (one goal each) accounted for their goals.

Indian Airlines forced six penalty-corners and converted four of them. They were also awarded a 'stroke' which was also duly converted.

They surged ahead in the eighth minute when Arjun Hallapa scored off the first corner (1-0), and three minutes later, Dilip Tirkey, with a powerful drag flick, converted the second penalty-corner (2-0).

The Bangladesh defenders managed to foil some good attempts for the next 12 minutes before Pillay struck to make it 3-0.

The losers, however, did not allow their Airlines to score again in the remaining 12 minutes before the interval and also survived two penalty-corners in between.

In the second session, it took ten minutes for Airlines to score their fourth goal, this time it was Dilip Tirkey, who converted the penalty-corner.

Sameer Dad added a goal to team's kitty when he scored off a penalty-corner in the 55th minute and four minutes later Prabodh Tirkey made no mistake in converting a 'stroke' to complete the tally (6-0).

Earlier, in a lacklustre encounter, Air India and CISF were locked 1-1 at the end of the regulation period. The teams failed to score in extra-time.

After a goalless first-half, Air India drew first blood in the 43rd minute through inside right Devinder Kumar. However, the lead lasted only nine minutes as G.V. Xaxa drew parity when he scored off a cross from the right flank (1-1).

In the tie-breaker, Vikram Pillay, Roshan Tete, Deepak Kumar and Sandeep Michael converted from the spot for Air India while Kishore Kumar missed the target.

For CISF, Cyril Ekka, Bharat Kumar and Gurtej Singh scored while G.V. Xaxa and Parambir failed to beat Air India goalkeeper Mahan Gowda.

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