Chennai, Sep 21 IANS | 2 years ago

Last year's joint winners Indian Oil Corporation Ltd overcame Bharat Petroleum 6-4 to set up a title clash with local challengers Indian Overseas Bank, who defeated Punjab National Bank 5-2 in the semi-finals of the 88th All-India MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament here Saturday.

In an exciting first semi-final, IOCL turned back a 1-3 deficit with a second-half blitz with penalty corner specialist Raghunath coming up with three conversions, two of them after the change of ends besides flicking home a penalty stroke.

Later, IOB surprised fancied PNB 5-2 to set up a repeat clash with IOCL in the final Sunday. The two finalists had met in the league when IOCL came through 3-1.

BPCL took an early lead when Sher Singh found the target in the third minute, but Raghunath equalized for IOCL in the 12th with the first of his four penalty corner conversions.

BPCL then struck twice more before half-time through Gurpreet Singh (21st) and Pundalik Bellary (23rd) for a 3-1 lead at the breather.

The complexion of the game changed on resumption as Roshan Minz (42nd) kept IOCL in the hunt only to see Hari Prasad give BPCL a 4-2 advantage with a 53rd minute strike.

IOCL stepped up the pressure and Raghunath converted a penalty corner in the 55th and then came good with a penalty stroke in the 58th to tie the scores at 4-all.

Past the 60th, Raghunath converted his third penalty corner to put IOCL 5-4 ahead and in the last minute, Dharmavir made it 6-4.

Later, in a rain-delayed game, IOB went ahead in the 19th minute through an own goal that came as a bad omen for PNB.

After crossing over leading 1-0, IOB struck twice as former international Adam Sinclair (42nd) and Vinod Rayaer (58th) found the mark, but Arjun (60th) pulled one back for PNB to set up an intriguing finish.

IOB virtually sealed the game when Shanmugam (66th) and Rayaer (67th) struck decisive blows for a 5-1 lead. PNB narrowed the deficit with a 69th minute goal from Damandeep.

(Posted on 21-09-2013)