Air India defeated defending champions Punjab 6-2,winning the third Hockey India Senior Mens National championship which concluded at the Dhyanchand Stadium in Pimpri.
Air India played with a plan that avowed them to dominate the match- using short passes.
Two minutes after the match began,Joga Singh passed to Sameer Dad,who didnt falter in pushing the ball into the goal,giving Air India the lead.
Three minutes later,19-year old Affan Yousuf scored with a superb back handed flick,setting a 2-0 margin favouring Air India.
With the Air India dominating in the first half,the Punjab players looked rather jaded and tried many ambitious long passes that fell into no-mans land often.
In the second half,Joga Singh worked tirelessly on the right flank and passed the ball precisely into the centre of the striking circle. Experienced attacker Dad made no mistake as he swept the ball into the goal to give Air India a 3-0 lead.
Affan Yousuf kept the Punjab defenders chasing him and added the fourth goal,with a vicious reverse hit that beat goalkeeper Kamaldeep Singh.
A Vikram Pillay hit deflected by Joga Singh took Air India to 5-0. Deepak Thakur,who cut a rather forlorn figure for Punjab up-front,beat three defenders and then clinically lifted the ball over advancing Adrian DSouza,allowing Punjab to gain a goal.
However,a couple of minutes later,P Somannas ferocious reverse hit from the right gave Kamaldeep no chance
as he further widened the margin for
Deepak Thakur converted a penalty corner for Punjab at the end of the match but the former international players effort was nothing more than a consolatory strike.
Affan Yousuf in action for Air India in the final match against Punjab on Monday. Rajesh Stephen