Murugappa Gold Cup: ONGC begins title defence with 3-3 draw against Central Secretariat

Central Secretariat, a three-year-old team, held defending champion ONGC to an entertaining draw. IOC beat BHA 7-4 on Day Three of the tournament.

Gurjant Singh of ONGC and Pawan Kumar of Central Secretriat tussle it out on Saturday.   -  R. Ravindran

Central Secretariat, which lost all its matches in the 2017 edition, held defending champion Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to a 3-3 draw on Day 3 of the Murugappa Gold Cup Hockey tournament on Saturday. 

In three other matches on the day, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) beat Bengaluru Hockey Association (BHA) 7-4; Indian Railways trumped Indian Army XI  5-1; and Punjab and Sind Bank held Chennai Hockey Association to a 1-1 draw. 

Defending champion ONGC started strongly but an organised Central Secretariat defence held strong and managed to keep out three penalty corners in the first 20 minutes. In the 27th minute, Jagwant Singh’s through pass helped Indian junior team regular Shilanand Lakra break the deadlock and put ONGC in the lead.

Read - Day Two report: Indian Army XI thrashes MHA 5-1

Central Secretariat, however, stunned the title holder with two counter attacking goals in the 30th and 33rd minute to take a 2-1 lead into the second half. ONGC snatched back the lead in the space of three minutes in the second half as Mandeep Antil (48’) and Sumit Kumar (50’) scored on counters. But in the 59th minute, Sumit Kumar latched on to Mohit Kumar’s defence-splitting pass and scored through the goalkeeper’s legs to pull Central Secretariat level. 

Both goalkeepers made vital saves in a thrilling final 10 minutes, and spectators at Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium gave both teams a standing applause after the thrilling draw.

Prolific encounter

IOC, led by former India international V.R. Raghunath, raced to a 5-0 lead against BHA in the first half, but conceded four goals in the second half. IOC scored two more in the second half and held on for the win. 

IOC, fielding 10 players from Hockey India’s core group, looked set for a huge win as braces from Roshan Minz and Bharat Chikara, and Gurjant Singh’s penalty stroke seemingly pulverised BHA. However, BHA dug deep in the second half and took advantage of slack defending from IOC to score through Sandeep Kumar Singh, Pratap Lakra, Poonacha and Shardanand Tiwari. 

IOC won two corners seconds before the final hooter, but BHA custodian Atal Dev Singh saved Raghunath’s dragflicks. 

Earlier in the day, Indian Railways recorded its second consecutive victory by beating Indian Army XI. Chennai Hockey Association drew 1-1 with Punjab and Sind Bank after the side conceding a penalty corner in the dying seconds of the first half.

Results, Day 3
  • Punjab and Sind Bank (Gaganpreet Singh 35+1’) drew with Chennai Hockey Association (Veera Phamizhan 50’) 1-1
  • Indian Railways (Karan Pal Singh 6’,69’, Harsahib Singh 18’, Kunwar Dilraj Singh 60’, Pardeep Singh 66’) beat Indian Army XI (Sanjay Toppo 41’) 5-1
  • Indian Oil Corporation (Roshan Minz 2’,24’, Bharat Chikara 13’,33’, Gurjinder Singh 22’,60’, Arma Qureshi 38’) beat Bengaluru Hockey Association (Sandeep Kumar Singh 45’, Pratap Lakra 51’, M.G. Poonacha 63’, Shardanand Tiwari 70’) 7-4
  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (Shilanand Lakra 27’, Mandeep Antil 48’, Sumit Kumar 50’) drew with Central Secretariat (Mohit Kumar 30’, Pawan Kumar 33’, Jayesh Yadav 59’) 3-3.