Mumbai: Scoring line is no indication of Indian Oil dominance, but for the defensive lapses in patches saw the Central Railway fall off the track, in the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup hockey. In the 53rd edition of the championship at the Mumbai Hockey Association Limited (MHAL) ground here on Saturday, CR lost 7-2 to Indian Oil. In the other encounter for aplace in the last four, Pratap Lakra came up with three goals as to power South Central Railway, Secundrabad to ambush Army XI 6-3. Ajay Yadav scored a brace of goals and M.G. Poonacha got one for the railwaymen, while Army XI hit the target through Manpreet Singh, Binay Bhengra and Vishwa Thakur.
Defending champions, Indian Oil boasting of several former internationals in their line-up did have a better say in the first quarter as they scored two against none by CR. But, the latter came back levelling the score in the second quarter, but again could not manage to hold on to the scoreline conceding a goal with second for the half time.
Indian Oil took the lead in the sixth minute when Roshan Minz after latching on to Vickram Singh’s forward pass on the right quckly switched the ball to Talwinder inside the striking circle. Talwinder controlled the ball and beat goalkeeper Mujahid Khan with a firm reverse hit. Three minutes later drag-flicker Neelam Sanjay Xess scored from the first short corner to double the lead in the first quarter.
Those two blows proved to be the perfect wake up call for Central who came out from their defensive approach and started to show more positive intent in the second quarter and their efforts yielded two quick goals. In Sunday’s quarter-final matches, MHAL XI meet Punjab and Sind Bank at 2.30pm followed by the match between BPCL and UP XI.
Indian Oil: 7 (T Singh 2, N Sanjay Xess, Affan Yousuf, Vickram Kant, Roshan Minz, Bharat Chhikra) bt Central Railway: 2 (Vikas Choudhary, Rajendra Pawar)
SCR: 6 (MG Poonacha 2, P Lakra 3, Ajay Yadav 2) bt Army XI: 3 (Manpreet Singh, Binay Bhengra, Vishwa Thakur)