Murugappa Cup: Seventh heaven for Railways

With six points in its kitty and with a game in hand against Karnataka, Railways is in a strong position to qualify for the last four.

Jasbir Singh (L) of ONGC and Affan Yousuf of Indian Railways in action during the Murugappa Gold Cup in Chennai.   -  M. Vedhan

Indian Railways produced a masterful display in its 7-2 win over ONGC in a Pool B contest of the 90th All-India MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament here on Tuesday.

With six points in its kitty and with a game in hand against Karnataka, Railways is in a strong position to qualify for the last four.

Tushar Khandekar’s last minute strike enabled BPCL to draw with defending champion Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) 1-1 in a Pool A tie later in the day. Though both BPCL and IOC have a match remaining with Tamil Nadu and Mumbai respectively, they have qualified for the semifinals.

The day clearly belonged to Railways. It was a performance the team would be really proud of, for not everyday a team can beat ONGC by such a huge margin.

The match was evenly poised even after Railways’ Amit Rohidas converted a penalty corner for a 3-2 lead in the 58th minute. What happened in the remaining 11 minutes was unbelievable as the national champion converted four more goals that made ONGC look pedestrian.

Talwinder Singh hit one into the roof of the net from a crowd of players near the goalline. Then, J.P. Kush dribbled his way into the circle to make it 2-0 for Railways. ONGC immediately pulled one back after Gurjinder Singh tapped one with a tennis-like shot from a cross by Jagwanth Singh from the right.

It was a resurgent performance by ONGC in the second half as it made some really wonderful raids. On both occasions, the Railways’ keeper Jagraj Singh proved equal to the task.

ONGC’s good work was rewarded when Diwaker Ram converted one off a penalty corner. With the scores tied at 2-2, both the teams played hard. Amit Rohidas strike, however, opened the floodgates for Railways.

The BPCL-IOC match was more of a midfield tussle for majority of the first session. None could get any clear chances to score. Prabhjot Singh's forehander gave the lead in the second half for IOC before Tushar equalised.



Results

Pool A: IOC 1 (Prabhjot Singh 42) drew with BPCL 1 (Tushar Khandekar 69).

Pool B: Indian Railways 7 (Talwinder Singh 14, J.P. Kush 21, Amit Rohidas 58, Affan Yousuf (2) 64, 67, Malak Singh 66, Raju Paul 69) bt ONGC 2 (Gurjinder Singh 26, Diwaker Ram 46).