Air India put it past MEG

Air India put it past MEG

India centre forward Shivendra Singh led Air India’s charge with three goals, in-form Len Aiyappa slammed in two goals while Vikram Pillay, captain Sameer Dad, local hero Arjun Halappa and Birendra Lakra each slotted one goal apiece as the title favourites lived up to their billing with another rivetting display of attacking hockey at the KSHA stadium.
A ruptured valve in the main water pump forced the start of the match to be delayed by 90 minutes and, following the drubbing, MEG must have been left wondering why the match that was reduced to 60 minutes took off at all. With the likes of India internationals Aiyappa, Halappa, Shivendra, Gurbaj and Vikram in their ranks, Air India carried far too many guns for the inadequate Sappers.

The brilliant part of Air India show was their focus, hardly allowing any complacency to creep in despite playing  a promoted side. They were relentless in their attack, constantly bombarding the Sappers citadel with raid after raid and the nine goals were a just reward for their fine effort.

Air India coach Gevin Feriera -- with an eye on the bigger clashes ahead -- experimented by shuffling his players to different positions and his boys lived up to expectations. However, the Sappers do need some words of praise for the way they stood up to a mighty opposition. They did not pack their defenses, as is the case between two mismatched teams, opting to play their natural game which saw them score two brilliant goals. 

Despite conceding goals at a fast pace and chasing shadows for the better part, the Sappers did not throw in the towel but their porous defence simply let them down, leaving the strikers with too much to do.

Second-half postponed
The second half of the match between Namdharis and Army Service Corps will be played at a later date due to the valve malfunction. At the break, the Namdharis were leading 2-0 when the organisers noticed the malfunction that left them unable to water the pitch.

Results: Air India: 9 (Shivender Singh 8th, 33rd, 35th, Len Aiyappa 18th, 39th, Vikram Pillay 21st, Sameer Dad 41st, Arjun Halappa 47th, Birendra Lakra 55th) bt MEG: 5 (Pruthvi Shetty 16th, Muthanna 38th, Mohan Muthanna 54th, 58th, Poovanna 60th); Namdhari: 2 (Malak Singh 10th, Harpreet Singh 11th) lead ASC: 0; BPCL: 5 (Amar Aiyamma 12th, Gurpreet Singh 35th, 39th, 55th, Sher Singh 57th) bt SAI: 1 (Pradhan Somanna 43rd).