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GTB Gold Cup: Indian Oil and SCR enter finals (9/18/2017)
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GTB Gold Cup: Indian Oil and South Central Railway enter finals

Mumbai, September 18: Indian Oil, Mumbai and South Central Railway (SCR), Secundrabad registered contrasting wins to set up a title clash in the 13th PMC Bank-Guru Tegh Bahadur Gold Cup All India Hockey Tournament.

In the first semi-final played on Monday afternoon, the Indian Oil outfit managed to deal better with the oppressive hot, humid conditions and enjoyed the upper hand as they coasted to a fluent 4-1 win against Punjab Police, Jalandhar, who are playing in Mumbai after more than a decade. Later in the evening and playing in much cooler conditions, South Central Railway struck a late winner to ground out a fighting 3-2 win against Army XI, Bengaluru, in the second semi-final, at the MHAL-Mahindra Stadium, Churchgate.

Indian Oil, who were twice runners-up in 2003 and 2008, produced another slick performance and got their goals through Sukhjeet Singh (6th min), Sunil Yadav (24th min), Deepak Thakur (50th min) and Prabhjot Singh (57th min) to complete the win. Punjab Police could only manage one goal through Dharamvir Singh (36th min).

South Central Railway, who finished runners-up in 2014 losing to Army XI in the final, came up with another good combined performance but faced quite a strong fight from the Armymen and the match witnessed an absorbing battle for supremacy.

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SCR took off on the right track and opened the scoring through M.G. Poonacha who scored off a rebound from their first penalty corner. But their joy was short-lived as Chandan Aind sounded the boards with a direct penalty corner drive for the Army XI’s equaliser in the eight minute before Rahul Kumar Yadav put Armymen ahead (2-1) with a brilliant field effort in the first minute of the second half.

The southern outfit made a strong reply and drew level in the very next minute with Raju Pal scoring from a well-organised move. SCR continued to press and took a decisive lead with Gagandeep Singh scoring from a penalty corner in the 60th minute to secure the win for the railwaymen.

Earlier in the first match, Indian Oil showed good coordination and drew first blood in the very sixth minute. International Sunil Yadav’s drag flick from the first penalty corner came back off goalkeeper Harjot Singh’s pad, but young Sukhjeet was alert to pounce on the rebound and tap into the goal. Later Yadav converted a penalty stroke to double the lead. Umpire Javed Shaikh awarded the ‘stroke’ after Yadav’s attempt hit the body of defender Dupinder Deep Singh on th goalline.

Trailing 0-2 at the break, the Punjab cops returned with renewed vigour and showed signs of a fight back as Olympian Dharamvir with a fierce drive from the top circle got the first goal for the policemen to reduce the margin (1-2). The Punjab side kept pushing forward in search of the equaliser but could get past the Indian defence marshalled by Yadav and Vikram Kant, who were well supported by midfielders Bharat Chikara and Harpreet Singh.

Punjab Police captain Gurbaj Singh and Dharamvir with a neat passing bout pierced through the rival defence but the former’s final pass was intercepted by a defender who cleared the ball safety.

Later, Indian Oil skipper and Olympian Deepak Thakur dashed Punjab Police’s fight by putting the finish touch to a Prabhjot’s square pass from the left in the 50th minute to increase the lead (3-1). Seven minute later Prabhjot got on the scoresheet when he deftly deflected home a long hit to score the foruth goal and seal the win.

Results – Semi-finals: South Central Railway 3 (M.G. Poonacha 3rd-PC, Raju Pal 37th-FG, Gagandeep Singh 60th-PC) beat Army XI 2 (Chandan Aind 8th-PC, Rahul Kumar Yadav 36th-FG).

Indian Oil 4 (Sukhjeet Singh 6th-PC, Sunil Yadav 24th-PS, Deepak Thakur 50th-FG, Prabhjot Singh 57th-FG) been Punjab Police 1 (Dharamvir Singh 36th-FG).

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