Murugappa Gold Cup Hockey: TN bows out without a win, PNB routs Indian Army

Punjab and National Bank and Punjab and Sind Bank registered comfortable wins over Indian Army and Tamil Nadu respectively.

Punjab and National Bank players celebrate scoring a goal against the Indian Army.   -  R. Ravindran

Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu's hopes of reaching the semifinals of the Murugappa Gold Cup Hockey tournament were dashed by Punjab and Sind Bank, which secured a 3-1 win at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday. Tamil Nadu's 2-2 draw with Central Secretariat on Sunday gave it a chance of reaching the last-four, but Punjab and Sind Bank proved a formidable opponent and won comfortably despite TN having chances to score in the final quarter.

PSB took a 1-0 lead through Satbir Singh’s 18th-minute strike after missing two good chances in the first quarter. After a couple of half-chances, TN found the equaliser in the 40th minute when V. Vinod Rayer got to the baseline and passed it to Joshva at the near post to finish. Ganganpreet Singh compounded TN’s woes when he stepped up to convert a penalty stroke in the 42nd minute.

TN saw two more corners saved in the final quarter while its goalkeeper Shabaz made a brilliant save to keep out a second penalty stroke as the match ended in 3-1 in PSB’s favour.

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Heavy rain descended on the second game shortly after push-back, but was unable to break Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) rhythm against a lacklustre Indian Army. PNB was 3-0 up by the third quarter as Army resorted to unnecessary challenges inside the area, giving away easy corners. Indian junior team dragflicker Mandeep Mor (5’, 42’) scored on either side of a Gurjinder Singh’s 27th-minute strike and completed his hat-trick with a penalty stroke in the 55th minute.

Rajnesh Salaria grabbed a consolation goal in the 59th minute, but it was not enough for Indian Army which is without a point after three matches. The win took PNB to joint top of Pool A alongside defending champion IOC and Bengaluru Hockey Association. PNB will look to upset the holder in its final group match on Thursday and seal a semifinal berth.