IOCL, Air India set up repeat clash in final

IOCL, Air India set up repeat clash in final

In a must-win fixture, Air India men edged past Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) 2-1 in the Bengaluru Cup hockey tournament played at Hockey Stadium on Sunday.

With this win, Air India booked their place in the final of the tournament, to be played on Monday, where they will face defending champions IOCL.

In the women’s category, last year’s finalists Madhya Pradesh Academy, who hammered Punjab 5-0 on Sunday, and Haryana will clash for title.

Air India came into the match with nine points from four games while IOCL had 10 from the same number of games.

After Army XI trounced Karnataka 7-3 in an earlier fixture and were on ten points themselves, Air India needed a win and they got the job done with a disciplined display.

IOCL, requiring just a draw to qualify, appeared to have reduced their intensity by a notch, and Air India made full use of it and went ahead in the ninth minute from a penalty corner.

Prabodh Tirkey hit a fine drive that  beat IOCL custodian Devesh Chauhan for the first goal.

The match then turned into a hard-fought contest with both sides using their physical stature to intimidate the opposition.  But it was Air India who looked to be winning the battle as they added a second in the 32nd minute through Aiyappa PR. Prabhjot Singh pulled one back for IOCL in the 65th minute but it was too little too late.

Results: Men: Air India: 2 (Prabodh Tirkey 9th, Aiyappa PR 32nd) bt IOCL: 1 (Prabhjot Singh 65th); Army XI: 7 (Binay Bengara 2nd, 38th, 61st, 64th, Chandan Aind 10th, Vishwa Thakur 54th, Siraju AP 59th) bt Karnataka XI: 3 (Abhishek 7th, 16th, Nitin Thimmaiah 53rd).

Women: MP Academy: 5 (Reena Khokar 11th, 39th, Sidhi Singh 19th, Shivani Singh 38th, Karishma Singh 47th) bt Punjab: 0.

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