IOC, Railways to clash in Murugappa Gold Cup Hockey final

Affan Yusuf’s 63rd-minute goal sealed a come-from-behind 5-4 win for Indian Oil Corporation against Indian Army XI in the Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament's second semifinal on Saturday.

IOC overturned a 1-3 deficit at half-time to win 5-4 and enter the final of the tournament's 92nd edition.   -  R. Ravindran

Affan Yusuf’s 63rd-minute goal sealed a come-from-behind 5-4 win for Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) against Indian Army XI in the Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament's second semifinal on Saturday.

The IOC will take on Indian Railways in the final on Sunday. The Railways team made light work of Punjab and Sind Bank (PSB) in the first semifinal to win 4-0. IOC overturned a 1-3 deficit at half-time to win 5-4 and enter the final of the tournament's 92nd edition.

IOC was 1-0 up in the 4th minute from a corner when V.R. Raghunath’s dragflick was deflected into the net by Arman Qureshi at the near post. However, Army equalised in the 19th minute with a Sajeeb dragflick.

In the 27th minute, Army rocked IOC again when Pawal Lakra stole possession inside the 18-yard area and set up Biraj Ekka to finish from close range.

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Sanjay Toppo made it 3-1 in the 32nd minute when he took advantage of poor marking by IOC defender Gurjinder Singh to slot home past the keeper.

IOC came back with vigour in the second half and a high press game earned them a couple of chances. IOC forward Arman Qureshi reduced the deficit in the 42nd minute.

In the 51st minute, the umpire awarded a penalty stroke to Army for Gurjinder’s stick check on Biraj Ekka. Gurpreet Singh duly converted from the spot to make it 4-2 for Army.

IOC rallied again, earning three corners in a row and in the 54th minute, Gurjinder Singh made it 3-4 with a dragflick into the roof of the net.

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A penalty stroke in the 61st minute, this time for IOC, resulted in Gurjinder converting from the spot to pull his team level on 4-4.

Yusuf struck two minutes later. The senior international found himself completely free on the right and struck home IOC’s winner from Qureshi’s pass.

Earlier in the day, Railways took an early lead against PSB in the eighth minute when Nilakanta Sharma picked up the ball outside 25 yards and scored with a mazy run inside the penalty area.

Railways kept coming back and after two close chances, Pardeep Singh’s pass in the 14th minute set up Harsahib Singh to finish from close range.

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In the 31st minute, Harsahib made it 3-0 when he flicked a long pass from his own half into the net. Rajin Kandulna put Railways 4-0 up in the 36th minute when he managed to put a faint stick to a pass from the midfield.

In the 56th minute, Gurmail Singh prevented Railways from making it 5-0 with a fantastic goal-line clearance. PSB was unable to cope up with Railways’ intensity and managed just a solitary shot on the goal in the entire game.

 

Semifinal Results:

Indian Railways (Nilakanta Sharma 8’,Harsahib Singh 14’,31’, Rajin Kandulna 36’) beat Punjab and Sind Bank (0).

IOC (Armaan Qureshi 4’,42’, Gurjinder Singh 54’,61, Affan Yusuf 63’) beat Indian Army XI (Sajeeb 20’, Biraj Ekka 27’, Sanjay Toppo 32’, Gurpreet Singh 50’).

 

Final (Sunday): Indian Railways vs IOC (6:15 pm).

Venue: Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium, Egmore, Chennai.