Seasoned campaigner Raju Bagade showed his class of old while firing in a superb hat-trick to guide Tata Power to a deserving 4-3 win against Air India Western Region in a Division IV match of the Mumbai Hockey Association (MHA) League at the MHA Stadium,Churchgate on Monday. Mehmood Alam netted the fourth for the Tata outfit.
What Tata Power lacked in terms of speed and acrobatics against a much younger and energetic Air India outfit,they made up for with a lot of tact and strategic nous. And with less than 20 minutes left for the final hooter,the air-men in fact held the advantage even if only a narrow one,leading 2-1. It was only defender Hamid Kazmi’s defiant approach that even ensured that the Tata outfit remained in the game as he thwarted an Air-India raid on a couple of occasions.
The momentum then suddenly began to shift as Bagade came into his own,making irrepressible runs into the opposition box and striking with power and precision. Against the run of play,the veterans from Tata Power had surged ahead,and with only minutes left,now had a one-goal advantage,before Bagade completed his hat-trick to increase the margin.
Air-India Western Region did get a late goal through Christopher V but it was too late for the youngsters. And Tata Power in fact could have enhanced the margin further after they were awarded a penalty corner in the dying moments of the contest. But for once,the Air-India defense,who seemed to have gone to sleep,came back to life,and ensured that the score remained 4-3.
Meanwhile,in other opening league matches,Tushar Shinde slammed home five goals,including a hat-trick as Maharashtra Military School stormed to an 8-0 win against Rustomjee International. Chetanya Veti,Mayur Pawar and Omkar Karade added one goal each to complete the rout.
In another match,Abhi Don Bosco also had things much their own way as they blanked Emerald SC 5-0. Venkatesh Deokar and Javed Khan scored two goals each while Kailash Masar got one to seal the win.
Results: Div-IV: Tata Power 4 (Raju Bagade 3 [hat-trick,Mehmood Alam) bt Air India Western Region 3 (Peter DSouza 2,Christopher V); BARC 2 (Dinesh,Narendra Singh) drew with IIT,Bombay 2 (Mastram,Alam); Abhi Don Bosco 5 (Venkatesh Deokar 2,Javed Khan 2,Kailash Masar) bt Emerald SC 0; Maharashtra Military School 8 (Tushar Shinde 5 [hat-trick,Chetanya Veti,Mayur Pawar,Omkar Karade) bt Rustomjee International 0; Blue Dragon 2 (Craig DSouza,Zeon Joseph) bt New Star 0.