CHANDIGARH, SEPT 29 :Powerful Air India and hot contenders Indian Oil Corporation will meet in the final of the 38th SN Vohra’s All-India Gurmit Memorial Hockey Tournament at the Sector 42 Hockey Stadium here tomorow at 5 p.m. With lot of stars in their ranks, the final should produce firework.
The semi-finals played this evening were of high standards. Good and fast hockey was witnessed. A large number of Olympians, including mercurial Dhanraj Pillay, and international players were seen in action.
Air India emerged winners with an aggregate 8-6 margin in the tie-breaker against a never-say-die Oil and Natural Gas Corporation. In a fast-paced encounter, Air India and ONGC settled for a5-all draw in the regulation period. With drag flick specialist Sandeep Singh converting two penalty corners in the 55th and 58th minutes, Air India were leading 5-3.
Despite the two-goal deficit, the ONGC boys continued to play with same vigour and maintained their tempo. They forced their fourth penalty corner and a Diwakar Ram converted it with ease in the 61st minute. Still ONGC were facing a one goal deficit. In their last attempt, speedy ONGC players went all out and Vikas Toppo just deflected the ball in from close after a free hit just from top of the dee.
Mercurial Dhanraj Pillay displayed his brilliance in the 23rd minute. A move was initiated from the right flank and AB Cheeyana sent a cross into the striking circle and Dhanraj rushed in to deflect the ball into the goal with just three seconds from end.
Air India scored through Shivinder Singh (2nd, 52nd), Dhanraj Pillay (33rd), Sandeep Singh (55th, 58th, both penalty corners). For ONGC, Pramod (6th), Diwakar Ram (47th, 61st) and Vikas Toppo (28th, 70th) scored in the regulation period.
In the -tie-breaker session, Shivinder, Bimal Lakra and Sandeep Singh converted their strokes. Prabodh Tirkey wasted his chance.
For ONGC only Diwakar Ram could succeeded. Air India goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza foiled the attempts of Jayant, Pramod and Amit to convert their penalties.
With Deepak Thakur, Prabhjot Singh, Rajpal Singh and Raghunath in their line-up, IOC prevailed over plucky Indian Overseas Bank of Chennai by 2-1 in the day-night semi-final. The Bankmen forged ahead in the 18th minute through Rajnikanth who converted a penalty corner. Olympian and captain Deepak Thakur restored parity for IOC in the 48th minute and Olympian Prabhjot Singh snachted the match with a field goal in the 68th minute. IOB got four penalty corners and IOC five.