8th Hussain Silver Cup: Pune’s best not good enough for outstation maestros
Top teams entered tourney in quarters and beat all comers to make the semisUpdated: Jul 06, 2019, 16:56 IST
Sports Authority of Gujarat (SAG), on Friday, confirmed their presence in the semi-final on Saturday after they beat hosts Rovers Academy 4-2 in the 8th Hussain Silver Cup, at the Major Dhyanchand Hockey Stadium in Pimpri-Chinchwad.
The game was deadlocked at 2-2, but two penalty strokes, successfully converted by Ruchit Patel, in the final quarter of the game were enough to down the hosts and propel SAG into the semi-final.
Income Tax Department, Pune are the only Pune team to qualify for the semis after they edged past a prolific Hockey Pune side 3-2.
Mumbai Customs were the third team to qualify for the semi-final as they defeated Krida Prabodhini 3-2.
The stadium experienced heavy rainfall after the end of the third game, leaving the pitch water-logged for the last quarter-final - defending champions Excellence Academy took on Mumbai Republicans.
In the challenging conditions, Mumbai Republicans required a single goal to knock the holders out of the competition.
All semi-finals will be played today
MEET THE FINAL FOUR
Sports Authority of Gujarat
SAG IS one of the teams which entered the competition directly in the quarter-final phase.
After eliminating an in-form Rovers Academy from the tournament, and with strikers like Ruchit Patel and skipper Ashab Kureshi, the attack-minded side SAG pose a serious threat in the semis where they meet Income Tax Department, Pune.
“We owe our coach and mentor Dhanraj Pillay. Under his guidance we were able to prosper and now we’ve reached the semis. We hope to retain our current form for our semifinal clash.”
Ashab Kureshi, Sports Authority of Gujarat, captain
Income Tax Department, Pune
Another team which gained direct entry into the quarter-final stage of the tournament, but faced a tough challenge as they were pitted against the prolific Hockey Pune side, against whom they won 3-2.
Income Tax Department, Pune operates like a well-oiled machine and they don’t lose their shape, making them one of the most menacing sides in the final four.
“We are mentally prepared for the game. We were missing a couple of our first team players, but the ones who replaced them did not disappoint, so I’m pleased with our performance.”
Ajitesh Roy, Income Tax Department, Pune, captain
A team which made their first appearance in the quarter-final stage and had the task of facing high-flying Krida Prabodhini. Even though the margin was tight, Mumbai Customs looked extremely calm and composed in their 3-2 win. Sometimes, all it takes is a calm and composed approach to win a game and Mumbai Customs are definitely in it to win it.
“We played well, but lack experience. Now for the semis, we’ll study our opponents and devise a strategy.”
Jayesh Jadhav, Mumbai Customs, captain
Mumbai Republican eliminated Excellence Academy, the defending champions, to ensure that the semi-final phase only comprises of teams who entered the competition directly in the quarter-final phase.
Facing last year’s champions is a tough ask, but it gets even more difficulty when you have to do that on a water-logged pitch. Mumbai Republican kept their cool and adapted well to the playing conditions and even after missing a penalty stroke, they were able to edge past Excellence Academy. Mumbai Republican looks like a team that can adapt, improvise and overcome in any situation.
“Our opponents are skilled and experienced. We will score goals if we do not commit silly mistakes. We need to work on our final touch.”
Venkatesh Devkar, Mumbai Republican, captain
Sports Authority of Gujarat 4 (Ashab Qureshi 4th; Ruchit Patel 44th, 51st, 58th) bt Rovers Academy ‘A’ 2 (Ankit Goud 13th, 40th).
Half Time: 1-1
Income Tax Department, Pune 3 (Nitin Kumar 26th, 54th; Ajitesh Roy 52nd) bt Hockey Pune 2 (Talib Shah 39th; Rishab Shah 51st).
Half Time: 1-0
Mumbai Customs 3 (Joshua Vessaokar 7th; Iftedar Shaikh 24th, 52nd) bt Krida Prabodhini 2 (Aniket Gurav 28th; Rohal Patil 59th).
Half Time: 1-1
Mumbai Republicans 1 (Tejas Chavan 24th) bt Excellency Academy 0.
Half Time: 1-0