Murugappa Gold Cup: IOC draws PSB 2-2, sets up semis clash with Army XI

IOC and Punjab and Sind Bank qualified for the semifinals after the teams drew their final group match. While Indian Railways beat Central Secretariat 3-1 to qualify for the last four alongside Indian Army XI.

IOC's Affan Yusuf in action during his team's match against Punjab and Sind Bank.   -  R. Ravindran

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Punjab and Sind Bank (PSB) despite playing out a 2-2 draw qualified for the semifinals from Pool B at the cost of Indian Navy on day eight, of the Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament here on Thursday.

In a do-or-die clash against Central Secretariat (CSE) on Thursday, Indian Railways eased to a 3-1 victory to enter the last four of the tournament alongside Indian Army XI in Pool A.

Both PSB and IOC started by making inroads into the opposition circle, but PSB took the lead in the 12th minute through Ashish Kumar Sharma’s finish from close range.

IOC won five penalty corners in the entire first half hour, but PSB goalkeeper Guriqbal Singh guessed right every time to keep his team in the lead. However, Indian international Affan Yusuf hit the equaliser for IOC in the 33rd minute when he deflected Talwinder Singh’s pass from the baseline into the net.

IOC started the second half strongly by winning three more corners, but failed to convert. IOC took a 2-1 lead in the 54th minute, when Bharath Chikara finished at the near post. In the 61st minute, Gaganpreet Singh’s fierce dragflick made it 2-2 to ensure PSB’s progression to the semis.

In the first match of the day, Railways took a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute, when Harsahib Singh unleashed a powerful reverse hit from the edge of the circle. CSE launched several attacks from the wings, but Railways’ defence held its lines.

Mohit Kumar equalised for CSE in the 37th minute when scored from a rebound off defender Karan Pal Singh’s stick. But three minutes later, Railways took the lead when Ajmer Singh scored off a rebound from the CSE keeper.

Railways stretched its lead further in the 44th minute when the umpire awarded a penalty stroke for a stick check inside the area and Karan Pal converted from the spot. With the 3-1 win, Railways finished top of Pool A and will face Punjab and Sind Bank in the semifinal on Saturday.

Results, Day 8:

Indian Railways (Harsahib Singh 17’, Ajmer Singh 40’, Karan Pal Singh 44’) beat Central Secretariat (Mohit Kumar 37’)

IOC (Affan Yusuf 33’, Bharath Chikara 54’) drew Punjab and Sind Bank (Ashish Kumar Sharma 12’, Gaganpreet Singh 61’)

Semifinal Schedule (Saturday):

Indian Railways vs Punjab and Sind Bank (4:00 pm)

IOC vs Indian Army XI (6:15 pm)