BPCL held by resilient Army Red

BPCL held by resilient Army Red

Deepak Thakur helps IOCL rout Fortis 9-3

With both teams yet to drop a point preceding this clash and the league entering its decisive week, BPCL and Army Red, not surprisingly, opted for a wait-and-watch approach resulting in the tournament’s first goalless encounter at the KSHA stadium.

Indian Oil Corporation Limited, who drubbed Fortis 9-3 later in the evening under floodlights, marched to the top on 21 points from seven matches with three left to play.

Holders BPCL are second on 19 points while Air India are at third on 18 points (six matches) with Army Red close on the heels with 16 points from six matches as well.

Playing against a team which has conceded just one goal so far, the task for BPCL appeared huge.  Sadly, the defending champions’ complete lack of understanding upfront hardly threatened to hurt Army Red’s impressive defensive record.

The talented Tushar Khandkar usually cut himself a lone figure, his failure to release the ball on time to strike partner Hari Prasad providing ample time for Army Red to thwart any attempts two-three yards before the striking circle. Coach-cum-player and veteran Sabu Varkey did provide moments of inspiration but even his whole-hearted effort went in vain.

On the other hand, Army Red stuck to their routine disciplined self, playing the short passing game and looking to attack only on the counters. While they did threaten to break the ice on four occasions, the quick counters eventually proved too fast for strikers A Armugum and Ignace Tirkey. 

Army Red medios Mukesh, Jerum and Varun impressed with their tireless show but had they shown
bit more creativity, a surprise could have been on the cards. In the day’s earlier match, Deepak Bijwad struck a brace, including a late equaliser, as Sports Authority of India held Namdhari XI to a 2-2 draw.

Results: SAI: 2 (Deepak Bijwad 20th, 65th) drew Namdhari XI: 2 (Harpreet Singh 23rd, Gurmail Singh 57th); BPCL: 0 drew Army Red: 0; IOCL: 9 (Deepak Thakur 2nd, 20th, 37th, Prabjoth Singh 9th, 32nd, Arjun Antil 18th, Vikas Sharma 43rd, Hamza Mujthaba 45th, Raghunath VR 46th) bt Fortis: 3 (Ajitesh Roy 4th, 33rd, Gurvinder Singh 67th).

Women: SAI, Madikeri: 2 (Chandini 18th, Nischitha 25th) bt Hassan 0.

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