A young Sports Authority of India (SAI) side came up with a lion-hearted performance to force a 4-4 draw against Indian Navy in a fast-paced Super Division encounter of the Mumbai Hockey Association Limited (MHAL) League,played at the MHAL Stadium,Churchgate,on Tuesday evening.
Leading the SAI charge was skipper Manpreet Singh,who not only marshalled the midfield brilliantly,but also produced two goals,the second coming with just a handful of supporters remaining in the stands to cheer for the youngsters from Kandivali. Jatinder Singh and Mahendra K netted the other two goals. For last years runners-up,Indian Navy,Heera Singh,Ved Prakash,Faheen Khan and captain Surender Kumar were responsible for getting their goals.
The match started off on a rousing note as both sides played an open attacking game. The SAI outfit exhibited good skills and understanding as they rose to challenge to match their more senior opponents in almost every department. On the other hand,Navy have themselves to blame as they missed quite a number of chances. They SAI goalkeeper Naresh Chaudhari,who excelled under bar,was a hard nut to crack and on many occasions was unbeatable from close range.
After the two teams had a couple of attempts at either end the Sailor struck in the 16th minute when Heera Singh scored with a reverse hit from an assist from Mohit Singh Thakur. Unfazed by that setback SAI fought back and managed to draw level 10 minutes later through Jatinder Singh who scored off Manish Poojarys cross from the right.
After the change of ends,SAI jumped into the lead when Manpreet scored after a superb run down the right flank by Jatinder in the 48th minute. Later Navy scored two quick goals through Ved Prakash and Faheen Khan three minutes later to lead 3-2.
SAI once again neutralised the lead through Mahendra Ks strike in the 63rd minute before Navy yet again went up when Surender Kumar found success from their sixth and final short corner of the match in the 66th minute. But just when it seemed curtains for SAI,Manpreet fired home the equaliser in the dying minutes of the game.
Results: Indian Navy 4 (Heera Singh,Ved Prakash,Faheen Khan,Surender Kumar) drew with Sports Authority of India 4 (Jatinder Singh,Manpreet Singh 2,Mahendra K).