Murugappa Gold Cup Hockey: Final stage of group games hit by red card, power failure

Indian Army’s Rahul Rajbhar was sent off for allegedly hitting one IAF player while power failure delayed the match between IOC and Bengaluru Hockey Association on Wednesday.

Pawan Rajbhar (centre) of Indian Navy in action during Murugappa Gold Cup Hockey tournament against Railways.   -  K. Pichumani

A red card followed by a floodlight failure and an unnoticed field violation underlined a start-stop Wednesday in the Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium, Chennai.

In the first match, goals from Ajinkya Jadhav (32’), Pawan Rajbhar (37’) put Indian Navy 2-0 ahead against Indian Railways. Jugraj Singh added a third in the 59th minute from a penalty corner to seal a semis spot for Navy. Railways, the reigning Senior Nationals champion, will now hope for a drawn match between Central Secretariat and Punjab and Sind Bank to go into the semifinals.

First red card, then power failure

IAF led the first quarter against Indian Army through Jagat Nachana’s (8’) goal before tensions boiled over in the second quarter. IAF’s Chandan Aind was stretchered off the pitch with a cut on the nose after being allegedly hit by the stick by Army’s Rahul Rajbhar. Rajbhar was shown a red card, the first of the tournament, as umpires Amit Saini and Raj Kumar Jha had a word with both the captains to simmer down the situation. IAF played with 12 players for few minutes in the second quarter, but the violation went unnoticed.

Bad light delayed the restart by 30 minutes, but it was Army which came out as the stronger team on resumption. Prathap Shinde grabbed the equaliser in the 45th minute with a dragflick while Vishwa Thakur added the second in the 49th minute to seal the first win of the tournament for Army.

There was further delay to the third match, as Bengaluru Hockey Association (BHA) players refused to take to the pitch against Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) due to insufficient lighting. Agitated members of the audience demanded the match to begin as the delay was an hour past the scheduled time (6pm). The organisers sighted a generator failure and the match began at 7.15 pm after backup generator arrived.

The start of the third match in the evening was delayed due to insufficient lighting.   -  Samarnath Soory

 

IOC eased to a 4-1 victory as goals from Affan Yousuf (15’), Armaan Qureshi (45’), S. K. Uthappa (59’) and Rahil Mosin (60’) confirmed its progression to the semis. Nithin Thimmaiah (52’) scored the lone goal for BHA as it will hope for IOC to beat Punjab National Bank to stay in the contention for the semis.

Results:

Pool A – Indian Army 2 (Prathap Shinde 45’, Vishwa Thakur 49’) beat Indian Air Force 1 (Jagat Nachana 8’)

IOC 4 (Affan Yousuf 15’, Armaan Qureshi 45’, S. K. Uthappa 59’ and Rahil Mosin 60’) beat Bengaluru Hockey Assocation 1 (Nithin Thimmaiah 52’)

Pool B – Indian Navy 3 (Ajinkya Jadhav 32’, Pawan Rajbhar 37’, Jugraj Singh 59’) beat Indian Railways 0.