Army Service Corps (ASC) gave the Malaysian junior team a real scare before going down 1-2 in the Ozonegroup KSHA Super Division league (first phase) match at the KSHA stadium here on Wednesday.
With the victory, the two pools for the second round of first phase matches beginning on Thursday have been decided. Pool ‘A’ will comprise PCTC, ASC and MEG ‘A’ while Pool ‘B’ will consist of BEML (Bangalore), Malaysian junior team and DYSS ‘A’.
Each team will play their respective group opponents in a round-robin manner with the winners of the two groups squaring off in a final on Sunday. The winner of the final advances to Super Division proper, scheduled to kick off on March 19.
Malaysia, who play BEML, Bangalore on Thursday, however, failed to confirm if they would play in the Super Division in case they advance because of domestic commitments. In such a situation, the runners-up will earn the ticket for the next phase.
Meanwhile, in the match against ASC, the Malaysians scored through Kavin Kathik (44th) and Firhan Ashari (67th) after Chittiappa gave ASC a shock lead in the 31st minute.
Chittiappa was the man of the first session as he deflected home Rawa Bhengra’s penalty corner in the 31st minute as ASC went into the breather with a 1-0 lead.
A surprise defeat looming, the Malaysians pulled up their socks. The Fitri Saari-led side went on the offensive and nine minutes later Kathik converted a penalty corner to equalise.
The Armymen fought valiantly in the ensuing 23 minutes foiling two Malaysian penalty corners and mounting raids of their own in between. However, Ashari scored with a neatly placed hit inside the ‘D’ in the 67th minute to seal a tight victory for the Dharmaraj-coached side.
Results: PCTC: 5 (Rajesh NS 1st, 15th, Surin E Henris 6th, Kalyan K 41st, Kujur S 46th) bt Canara Bank: 0; MEG ‘B’: 4 (Sanjib Dung Dung 20th, S Singh 54th, Sudhakar 60th, 64th) bt Central Excise: 3 (Sathya 8th, 34th, 61st); Malaysian junior team: 2 (Kavin Kathik 44th, Firhan Ashari 67th) bt ASC: 1 (Chittiappa AM 31st).