Murugappa Gold Cup: IOC beats CS, sets up final clash with PNB

Defending champion IOC went from being 0-2 down to beat Central Secretariat 6-3. In the other semifinal, Punjab National Bank beat Indian Navy 4-2.

Sukhjeet Singh of Punjab National Bank (third from left) celebrates with team-mates after scoring a goal in the semifinal contest against Indian Navy on Saturday.   -  M. Vedhan

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOC) staged a spirited comeback from being two goals down to beat Central Secretariat (CS) 6-3 to book a place in the final of the 2019 Murugappa Gold Cup.

In the summit clash, IOC will face Punjab National Bank (PNB), which beat Indian Navy 4-2 in the second semifinal at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium here on Saturday.

CS took a shock lead in the first minute through Dharmabir Yadav. CS went 2-0 up in the very next minute, when skipper Govind Singh Rawat converted a penalty corner.

IOC took few minutes to recover from the early onslaught, but erased CS’s lead by the end of the first quarter. While CS relied on raw pace and directness, IOC banked on its experience and methodical build-up. In the ninth minute, Armaan Qureshi pounced on a rebound from the keeper to score the champion’s first goal. In the 14th minute, IOC’s player-coach Deepak Thakur pulled his team level when he took advantage of slack defending inside the circle and deflected the ball into the net.

Comeback

Sahir Mohammad restored CS’s lead in the 17th minute as he dribbled from the 25-metre line, skipped past three IOC players and scooped the ball over the goalkeeper. In the 33rd minute, IOC right-half Vikramjit Singh, who had missed the group stage due to a bout of dengue, supplied the cross for Talwinder Singh’s equaliser.

The crowd was on CS’s side, applauding its every foray forward, but the orange and blacks failed to convert two corners and missed two sitters from open play. In the 45th minute, Affan Yousuf put IOC in the lead as he found the right top corner from a Deepak Thakur pass. Further goals Roshan Minz (55’) and Affan Yousuf (60’) sealed a second consecutive final appearance for IOC.

Second-half onslaught by PNB

The second semifinal betweeen PNB and Indian Navy remained goalless until the 35th minute, when Indian international Mandeep Mor broke the deadlock with a dragflick directed at the bottom right corner. In the 37th minute, Jugraj Singh smashed home the equaliser for Navy with a low finish from a penalty corner.

PNB opened the floodgates in the final quarter as quickfire strikes from Gurjinder Singh (50’), Abhishek (55’) and Sukhjeet Singh (56’) made it 4-1. Jugraj Singh (57’) scored from a penalty corner for Navy, but it was too late for the Pool B topper.

Results
  • Semifinal 1 – IOC 6 (Armaan Qureshi 9’, Deepak Thakur 14’, Talwinder Singh 33’, Affan Yousuf 55’ 60’, Roshan Minz 55’) beat Central Secretariat 3 (Dharambir Yadav 1’, Govind Singh Rawat 2’, Sahir Mohammad 17’).
  • Semifinal 2 – Punjab National Bank 4 (Mandeep Mor 35’, Gurjinder Singh 50’, Abhishek 55’,Sukhjeet Singh 56’ ) beat Indian Navy 2 (Jugraj Singh 37’ 57’).
  • FINAL – Indian Oil Corporation vs Punjab National Bank – 6.15 pm, Sunday.