BPCL to clash with Indian Oil in Gold Cup final
Mumbai, Dec 19 (PTI) Internationals Affan Yousuf and Mohammed Amir Khan struck timely hat-tricks to guide respective outfits Indian Oil, Delhi, and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, Mumbai, into the final of the 52nd Bombay Gold Cup Hockey Tournament here today.
Yousuf's three-in-row strike followed by drag-flick expert and captain V Raghunath's late essay helped IOL pip defending champions South Central Railway 4-3 in a well-contested second semi-final at the MHAL-Mahindra Stadium.
For SCR, who trailed 0-2 before equalising and then were again 2-3 down before getting the second equaliser, the goal-getters were Raju Pal (2) and M G Poonacha.
Earlier, Amir Khan scored thrice in the first half as BPCL outplayed Punjab National Bank, Delhi, 5-2 with the other second half goals for the winners, who led 3-1 at the breather, being notched by Tushar Khandkar and Varun Kumar.
For the Delhi bankmen, Gagandeep Jr and Navin got into the scoresheet.
The final between three-time champions BPCL and 2013 winners Indian Oil will be played tomorrow. It will be the first meeting between the two star-studded oil teams in the summit clash of the tournament after their previous one in 2014 in which BPCL emerged the victors.
The action packed, fast-paced match between IOL and SCR was the better of today's two semi finals.
The oilmen forced eight penalty corners and scored their match-winner off the last in the 68th minute while SCR secured six awards and converted their fifth indirectly through Raju Pal early in the second half to draw level at 2-2.
Earlier, Affan scored a field goal midway through the first half to give the oilmen the lead and then increased it to 2-0 by lying in wait to push home the penalty corner hit by Raghunath in the 27th minute.
SCR reduced the margin with a minute left for the half time through an angular shot by Poonacha.
Crossing over, Raju Pal helped SCR draw level after which both teams strove hard to find another goal in which Affan proved successful with an acute-angled reverse hit that beat SCR custodian Noor Jinani Shaikh all ends up.
Raju Pal made it 3-3 with five minutes left with a top of the circle reverse hit. But his side's joy was short-lived as veteran international Raghunath scored the match-winner with two minutes remaining off another penalty corner award to pilot IOL into their third Gold Cup final.
Earlier, BPCL's Amir Khan struck thrice in a five-minute spell to complete his hat-trick before the mid-way stage of the first half was reached.
Trailing 0-3, PNB reduced the margin through a penalty corner goal by Gagandeep Junior in the 24th minute.
But two more goals, between the 47th and 53rd minutes of play, a field effort from Khandkar followed by a penalty corner conversion by junior World Cupper Varun Kumar sealed the bank side's fate.
PNB got a late consolation goal via Navin but by then BPCL's fifth entry into the final of the tournament was assured