The star-studded team of Air India,Delhi defeated West Central Railway,Jabalpur 5-2 while the team of PNB Delhi outclassed Central Railway,Mumbai 4-1 in their respective quarter-final matches to secure a place for themselves in the semi-finals of the 29th All India KD Singh Babu Memorial Invitation Prize Money Hockey Tournament being held at Dhyanchand astro-turf stadium,here.
Air India exercised a slight upper hand over West Central Railway,Jabalpur from the very onset of the match. Len Aiyappa made no mistake in utilising a penalty corner awarded to Air India in the 19th minute to impart a 1-0 lead to the team. Bolstered by his initial success,he scored another goal,this time again through a penalty corner in the 23rd minute. Thereafter,no goals could be scored in the first-half.
Soon after the breather,AB Cheeyanna scored a beautiful goal to consolidate the lead further. In the second-half,West Central Railway too made some very good attempts. Utilising a well-timed pass from the left,Railway forward OS Khan diverted the ball straight towards the target in the 42nd minute to bring down the margin to 3-1. Just seven minutes later,Merajuddin succeeded in bringing down the margin further through a field goal. However,dodging defenders tactfully,AB Cheeyanna netted another goal in the 53rd minute. In the 59th minute,Air India’s Gaurav Tokhi struck a goal to make the score 5-2 which was maintained till the final moments of the play.
West Central Railway got one penalty corner (PC) in the 55th minute while Air India got four PCs in the 19th,23rd,62nd and 66th minute. The Air India team utilised on two such opportunities.
Punjab National Bank,Delhi defeated Central Railway,Mumbai 4-1 in their quarter-final match. Though it was Central Railway which broke the ice when its player Navneet Swarnkar scored a goal soon after the onset of the match,however,after that the PNB defence became very cautious. PNB forward Yudhvir succeeded in scoring the equaliser in the 12th minute.
Navdeep made full use of a good move made by the bankmen to impart a 2-1 lead to the team.Ten minutes later his teammate Banmali struck a goal to make the half-time score 3-1 in favour of the bankmen. In the 49th minute,PNB forward Daman netted a goal to make the score 4-1 for the team which was maintained till the final moments of the play.
In all,Central Railway got two PCs in the 21st and 48th minute while PNB got three PCs in the 3rd,31st and 64th minute. However,both the teams failed to make use of any such opportunity.
Mondays Fixtures: (both semi-finals):- PNB Delhi vs Indian Oil,Mumbai (at 1.00 pm); Namdhari Eleven vs Air India,Delhi (at 3.00 pm).