Air India edge past Army XI to stay in hunt

Air India men boosted their hopes of a top-two finish with a narrow 1-0 win over Army XI in the Bengaluru Cup hockey tournament at the Hockey Stadium here on Thursday.

While Army XI were coming into the match on the back of a fine 3-3 draw against defending champions Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Air India had lost their previous fixture 1-2 to Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). 

The Aircraftmen began with high intensity but the Armymen were happy to soak up the pressure.

Air India got their first real chance in the 24th minute when local lad Sheshagowda BM hit a clean strike that was appeared headed into the goal after beating Army custodian Arpit Chaudhary but Dhiran Uthappa made a vital goal-line clearance.

Four minutes later, Air India did manage to break the deadlock as a goalmouth melee saw the ball take a couple of deflections and fall stragith to Pawan Kumar who slid the ball home with composure.

Air India looked like they had learned from the errors they made against ONGC and plugged all gaps to remain organised in defence and register a hard-fought win.
The result leaves Air India with nine points from three games while Army are on seven having played the same number of games and will now have to depend on other results for a position in the top two.

Haryana in finals
Haryana women booked their place in the final of tournament as they put in a strong second half performance to defeat Central Railway 2-0.

Results: Men: Air India: 1 (Pawan Kumar 28th) bt Army XI: 0.
Women: Haryana: 2 (Manjeet 51st, 66th) bt Central Railway: 0.

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