Prabhjot stars in Indian Oil win
It was a field day for two national team discards in the Super League of the ONGC-Nehru hockey tournament at the Shivaji Stadium on Thursday. While Prabhjot Singh produced a gem of a goal to steer Indian Oil to a 2-1 win over Border Security Force in Pool IV, Gagan Ajit Singh showed his class with a superb strike in Punjab Police's 3-2 victory against Air India in Pool I.
Prabhjot's goal in the 65th minute was the testimony of his quick reflexes and striking ability. Locked 1-1 till then, Air India earned a free hit outside the BSF area. As Inder Salaria's hit deflected off a defender and fell in front of an unmarked Prabhjot, the latter pounced on the opportunity to send a powerful reverse shot into the goal.
Indian Oil changed the course of the match after trailing till the 58th minute. The equaliser came off the stick of Hamza, who was at the goalmouth to take advantage of a defensive lapse after Nitin Kumar's corner reached the circle. BSF's goal was scored by Sushil Kujur in the 31st minute after goalkeeper Baljeet Singh weakly padded a Harbhajan Singh shot. Kujur banged in the rebound.
GAGAN'S GOAL: Gagan Ajit Singh is another player who is not among the probables for the Champions Trophy. One wishes the national coach saw the manner in which he clinched the match-winner for Punjab Police in the 67th minute when the teams were tied 2-2.
The goal came around 10 minutes after Jugraj Singh, the one-time match-winner for India, was pushed in by the Punjab Police coach. Jugraj did not produce his old power in drag flicks, but offered a fine pass for Gagan from the middle. Gagan dived and slammed in to the delight of the crowd.
Punjab Police came back from arrears twice to bag full points. While Gavin Ferreira and Kishore Kumar put Air India in lead, the Punjab boys cancelled them through Amit Sandhu and then Sarabjit Singh.
BPCL 4 (Sabu Varkey, Len Aiyappa 2, Amar Aiyappa) b Tamil Nadu XI 2 (Prabakar, Gopinath); Punjab Police 3 (Amit Sandhu, Sarabjit Singh, Gagan Ajit Singh) b Air India 2 (Gavin Ferreira, Kishore Kumar); Indian Oil 2 (Hamza, Prabhjot Singh) b BSF 1 (Sushil Khujur).
Friday's matches: Tamil Nadu XI v Namdhari XI at 11am; Air India v Karnataka XI at 1pm; Punjab and Sind Bank v South Central Railway at 3pm (Shivaji Stadium).