India Colts and Bharat Petroleum provided arguably the best contest of the Nehru Hockey Tournament, with the Colts emerging 3-2 winners in a thrilling final, courtesy a golden goal by Jai Karan. The Nehru Stadium in Gurgaon saw its maximum attendance for the tournament on Tuesday, and the crowd got its money's worth.
The contest was action-packed with the opening goal coming as early as in the first minute when Danish Mujtaba gave finishing touches to a well-choreographed Colts' move. The early setback rang alarm bells for Bharat Petroleum (BP), who got their act together and started to threaten the rival citadel. Their efforts were duly rewarded in the 22nd minute when Gurpreet Singh equalised for BP off the fourth penalty-corner. BP players had spring in their feet after the equaliser and the forwards created more than a handful of chances. However, they failed to increase the tally.
After the breather, the teams continued their quest to go one-up. The Colts eventually took the lead in the 48th minute with skipper Diwakar Ram slotting home off the second penalty-corner.
Soon, the Colts were reduced to 10 men after Birender Lakra was shown the yellow card by the umpire for intentionally blocking the ball with his foot. Smelling an opportunity, BP scored the equaliser in the 61st minute when Amar Ayamma tapped the ball into the net.
With regulation time not deciding the winner, the match went into extra time. Jai Karan scored the golden goal in the 76th minute to give the Colts the grand prize of Rs. two lakh.