Sarvanjit Singh double helps Punjab beat PSPB, regain national hockey title
Punjab, the 2012 champions rallied from a goal down to upstage Petroleum Sports Promotion Board in the National Hockey final thanks to a brace from Sarvanjit Singh. Railways won a shootout against Air India to finish third in Lucknow.other sports Updated: Mar 25, 2018 20:04 IST
Sarvanjit Singh struck twice, including a last-minute winner, to help Punjab regain the men’s national hockey title here on Sunday after edging out star-studded Petroleum Sports Promotion Board 2-1. (SPORTS NEWS)
With the match tied 1-1 going into the final minute, Sarvanjit produced a reverse hit to leave the PSPB players shaking their heads in dismay before a sizeable crowd at the Padma Shri Mohammad Shahid Stadium.
Jasjeet Singh Kullar scooped the ball between two defenders just outside the penalty circle, and before they could tackle, Sarvanjit pounced on it and directed it into goal, giving no chance to PSPB custodian Pankaj Rajak.
Railways win shootout
Last year’s champions Railways finished third, beating Air India 5-3 in a penalty shootout after the teams were locked 1-1 at the end of regulation time.
Sarvanjit was the hero for Punjab. The player, who was shown the green card (caution) for pushing a rival player in the second quarter, also scored the equaliser. Punjab’s third penalty corner was illegally obstructed by PSPB defenders and umpire Deepak Joshi awarded a stroke to the 2012 champions. Sarvanjit slotted home in the 53rd minute to help the side restore parity.
It was Punjab’s second win in five finals across eight editions of the senior national championship. For PSPB, which graduated to A division for the first time after finishing atop B division last year, it was a memorable run until the final heartbreak.
PSPB’s early strike
Led by veteran Tushar Khandker, PSPB tried to dominate from the start and took the lead. In the third minute, Gurjinder Singh converted the team’s only penalty corner. However, the Punjab defence stayed alert after that to keep the PSPB forwards at bay with many deflections outside the penalty circle.
Things began changing quickly in the last 10 minutes when the Gurbaj Singh-led Punjab launched several attacks. Harsahib Singh’s 57th minute attempt just went wide, after Dharminder Singh’s hit found custodian Pankaj standing tall under the bar.
Railways drew first blood in the fifth minute when Sayyed Niyaz Rahim shot home from the right flank. Air India equalised in the 17th minute through former India star Shivender Singh. In the penalty shootout, Railways converted all five attempts through Sheshe Dowda, Amit Gowda, Raju Pal, Gurpreet Singh and Sayyed Niyaz Rahim. For Air India, only Nikhil Pardeshi, Mohd Faraz and Cheeyanna Bopaiah Alemada managed to score.