Murugappa Gold Cup: Indian Army XI thrashes MHA 5-1

In a lopsided second half, Indian Army XI score five goals against Mumbai Hockey Association to win 5-1; Indian Navy defeats Bengaluru Hockey Association 2-1.

Bharat Singh of Indian Navy scores a goal against Bengaluru Association at the Radhakrishnan Stadium on Friday.   -  R. Ravindran

Indian Army XI beat Mumbai Hockey Association 5-1, and Indian Navy prevailed 2-1 over Bengaluru Hockey Association in pool stage clashes in the Murugappa Gold Cup Hockey tournament on Friday.

This was Mumbai's second successive loss. It had lost its opening match to Indian Railways.  

In the first match on Day 2 of the tournament, Bengaluru Hockey Association and Indian Navy started aggressively and five penalty corners were awarded in the first quarter of an hour. The teams, however, could not capitalise.

In the 18th minute, Bengaluru was awarded a penalty stroke after Jugraj Singh brought down M.G. Poonacha inside the area. Shardanand Tiwari slotted home from the spot to give the 2017 runners-up an early lead.

Navy’s captain Bharat Singh restored parity nine minutes later, converting a corner gifted away by a brittle Bengaluru defence.

The initial aggression from both sides gave way to more settled moves, more so from the Navy. Both teams won five corners each by the hour mark, but failed to get the elusive winner as the clock winded down.

But with 27 seconds left, Navy forward Sunny Malik found the net from a tight angle on the right after receiving a pass from Nitesh Singh to make it two wins out of two for his team.

Coming off a 2-1 loss to Railways, Mumbai Hockey Association raced to a 1-0 lead against Indian Army XI in the first minute.

Roshan Keisham scored with a dragflick after back-to-back penalty corners. The game tempo quietened and the Army XI, fielding an experimental side for this edition, was unable to convert from three corners in the first period.

But tired legs of Mumbai players and superior bench strength of Army XI made the second half a different story.

Sajeeb equalised for Army from a corner with a brilliant dragflick into the top right corner in the first minute after half-time, while Jitender’s 44th minute goal made it 2-1.

The floodgates opened and Army XI scored three more goals in a span of 10 minutes through Biraj Ekka, Gurpreet Singh and Sarin.

Mumbai goalkeeper Sudhir Dixit made two excellent saves in the dying minutes to deny Army a bigger win.

Results
  • Indian Navy (Bharat Singh 9’, Sunny Malik 70’) beat Bengaluru Hockey Association (Shardanand Tiwari 18’)
  • India Army XI (Sajeeb 36’, Jitender 44’, Biraj Ekka 50’, Gurpreet Singh 56’, Sarin 60’) beat Mumbai Hockey Association (Roshan Keisham 1’)