Raghunath fashions IOCL win

Raghunath fashions IOCL win

Ace drag-flicker steals show with four goals

Air India, who scored a nervy 1-0 victory over Sports Authority of India later in the evening under floodlights at the Karnataka State Hockey Association stadium, joined the former champions at the top with 18 points from six matches.

Underdogs Army Red, who avoided a potential banana skin Fortis with a battling 2-0 victory, share the third spot with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited with the former enjoying a healthier goal difference.

Both the teams are on 15 points and have played a game less than the leaders.
Raghunath has been in terrific touch this tournament and the ace drag-flicker did not disappoint one bit against Namdhari, orchestrating another massive win for his IOCL.

With 13 goals preceding this match -- 11 from penalty corners and two from the spot -- the Bangalorean oozed class, his powerful shots leaving Namdhari goalkeeper Nanak Singh and his 60th minute substitute Manjeet Singh as well as the defenders mere spectators.

Experienced IOCL played a very intelligent game and the Namdharis literally fell into their trap. With Raghunath at their disposal, IOCL knew for certain a penalty corner would earn them a goal on most occasions and that’s exactly what they did, creating as many as 10. Credit must be given for captain Inderjit Singh, Roshan Minz and Hamza Mujtaba, who on failure in finding space inside the circle, showed wonderful presence of mind in finding the legs of Namdhari defenders.

While IOCL had Raghunath as their trump card, sadly Namdhari didn’t possess one who could fire the ball with similar venom and ferocity. Despite trailing 0-3 at halftime and on the back foot, Namdharis showed a stomach for battle upon resumption but lacked the bite upfront which eventually became their undoing.

Raghunath fired IOCL into the lead in the fourth minute before doubling it nine minutes later. Gagandeep Jr guided one home in the 25th minute while Raghunath struck in the 58th and 65th minutes.

Results: Army Red: 2 (Ignace Tirkey 55th, S Armugam 69th) bt Fortis: 0; IOCL: 5 (VR Raghunath 4th PC, 13th PC, 58th PC, 65th PC, Gagandeep Jr 25th) bt Namdhari XI: 0; Air India: 1 (Shivendra Singh 41st) bt SAI: 0.

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