The experience and might of Indian Railways was too hot to handle for a young Hockey Karnataka side as the former scripted a 5-2 victory in the final of the 94th MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup All-India hockey tournament here on Sunday.
The hero of the match was drag-flick expert and former junior India international Pratap Lakra, who scored a hat-trick.
From the beginning, Railways executed its plan to a ‘T’. The former champion hardly gave any leeway to the speedy Karnataka forwards. Though, in fits and starts, Karnataka kept attacking the Railways citadel at every given opportunity. In the same vein, its defence, too, was sturdy; the interceptions at the back showed the young team’s capability.
Truth be told, Railways pretty much closed out the contest in the third quarter, scoring five goals. Pratap scored twice off penalty corners and one off a penalty stroke. Trailing 1-3 at the end of two quarters, with Lakra scoring all the goals, Karnataka knew that it had lost the plot.
And it pretty much showed in the remaining two quarters though Karnataka put up a brave front till the final whistle.
Hockey Karnataka has been a revelation here. Comprising players whose average age is 23 years, it showed a heart and a stomach for a fight throughout the tournament. In the final, it found the target too high to surmount.
Prabhakar Singh, head coach of Railways, said his team had a head-start when it came to penalty corners. “We always had the advantage in PC’s. We had more possession. Our objective was to put pressure on them. Our plan was that if we get a PC, we should either score or ‘have a shot’ at goal. We cashed in our chances,” he said.
Udhayanidhi Stalin, State’s Sports Minister, gave away the prizes.
The results (final):
- More teams to qualify directly for reshaped Women’s Champions League - UEFA
- ECB launch cricket regulator to tackle discrimination
- Real Madrid defender Carvajal out until next year due to calf injury
- Manchester City charged by FA over player conduct in Spurs draw
- ISL 2023: East Bengal blanks NorthEast United 5-0; Silva, Sekar shine