Murugappa Gold Cup: Gurjant scores hat-trick, ONGC beats Railways

India international Gurjant Singh scored a brilliant hat-trick, including a last-minute goal against Indian Railways in a 4-3 win for ONGC, while Indian Army XI beat Central Secretariat 3-2 on Day five of the Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament.

Sukhdeep Singh (l) of Indian Army scored a goal against Central Secretariat.   -  K. Pichumani

Gurjant Singh’s goal in the dying seconds of the game gave Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) a 4-3 victory in a thrilling encounter against Indian Railways on Monday.

The striker, who represented India in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, also scored the first hat-trick of the tournament at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium.

Earlier in the day, Indian Army XI won 3-2 against Central Secretariat (CSE) in a closely-contested match to remain in the race for a semifinal berth.

All the elements for a perfect game of hockey were there when defending champion ONGC faced Indian Railways, which was high on confidence after beating Mumbai and Indian Navy in its previous games.

Railways took a 1-0 lead against the holder through Rajin Kandulna’s goal in the second minute.

READ: Day 4 Report: ONGC registers easy 4-0 victory over Mumbai

Gurjant Singh equalised for ONGC in the ninth minute from a penalty corner as both sides tried to attack through the flanks.

ONGC custodian Kamal Deep Singh saved Pardeep’s 18th minute shot, while Ajmer Singh narrowly missed the target in the 30th minute for ONGC as the first half ended 1-1.

Railways started the second half brightly and in the 41st minute, Sayyad Niyaz Rahim scored a brilliant goal from the edge of the penalty area to make it 2-1 for Railways.

Couple of minutes later, Harsahib doubled the lead for Railways with a shot into the bottom right hand corner.

However, Gurjant scored in the 45th minute off a counter attack to pull one back for ONGC, which then laid a siege on Railways goal in search of an equaliser.

Railways’ solid defence finally buckled under the pressure as Mandeep Antil scored from close range in the 67th minute to make it 3-3 for ONGC.

However, the drama was reserved for the final 30 seconds of the match as Sumit Kumar weaved past three defenders inside the penalty area to pass towards the far post for an unmarked Gurjant to hit the winning goal.

In the first match of the day, Indian Army XI stamped its authority against Central Secretariat winning three corners in the first quarter hour and took the lead in the 28th minute through Sukhdeep Singh’s goal.

Biraj Ekka’s pass from the baseline in the 41st minute helped Sanjay Toppo to make it 2-0 for Army.

Pawan Kumar pulled one back for CSE when he scored from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute after K.B. Thamaiah brought down V.M. Venkateshwarlu inside the area.

Rajnath doubled Army’s lead in the 66th minute when he scored off a rebound from a penalty corner strike.

Kumar’s dragflick in the 68th minute gave CSE a consolation goal as the match ended 3-2 in favour of Indian Army.

Results Day 5:

Indian Army XI (Sukhdeep Singh 28’,Sanjay Toppo 41’, Rajnath 66’) beat Central Secretariat (Pawan Kumar 52’, 68’)

ONGC (Gurjant Singh 9’,45’,70’, Mandeep Antil 67’) beat Indian Railways (Rajin Kandulna 2’, Sayyad Niyaz Rahim 41’, Harsahib Singh 43’)