New Delhi, Nov 23 (UNI) Last year's runners-up Namdhari XI and former champions Indian Airlines chalked out hard fought victories over their rivals to sail into the semi-finals of the 44th Nehru Hockey tournament here today.
Olympian Dhanraj Pillay displayed his class as he led Indian Airlines to a 2-0 win over spirited IHF (u-21) while international Harpal Singh scored a brace helping Namdhari XI overpower Border Security Force (BSF) 2-1.
Completing the last four line up were Punjab and Sind Bank and Bharat Petroleum, while the bankmen were the first team to make it to the semis yesterday.
The Petroleum team had to wait the result of the match between defending champions Indian Oil and PNB XI.
Indian Oil defeated PNB 2-0 in their last super league assignment and both the teams crashed out as Bharat Petroleum made it by virtue of better goal average. Petroleum had six points, while both Indian Oil and PNB finished with three points each.
In a fast-paced match, Indian Airlines scored a goal in each half to oust IHF (u-21) from the race.
Airlines unnerved their rivals with spate of incisive moves and counter attacks and surged ahead in the 32nd minute when veteran Dhanraj Pillay cut through the defence to shot home a superb goal.
The former champions kept the pressure on while foiling some good counter moves from the IHF side and consolidated the lead in the 49th minute whenm Ousaf-ur Rehman captalised on a defensive lapse to send the ball into the cage.
Airlines crowded their defence and stoutly defended the lead for the remaining 21 minutes.
Airlines will face Bharat Petroleum in the semi-final.
Namdhari XI owes it to their young defender Harpal Singh who scored a goal in each half to put it across BSF.
Harpal converted a stroke in the 20th minute and then six minutes into the second session shot another goal to give his side a 2-0 lead.
BSF managed to reduce the margin six minutes before the final whistle through Peter Tirkey.
Namdhari XI face Punjab and Sind Bank in the first semi-final.
Both the semi-final matches are slated for tomorrow.
In the first match of the day, last year's winner Indian Oil recorded their only win in the super league as they defeated PNB 2-0 but it was a case of too little and too late.
Kamlesh scored the first goal in the 14th minute and Olympian Didar Singh scored off a penalty corner to make it 2-0 in the 27th minutes.