Namdhari XI stroke out PNB to regain Shastri Hockey title

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New Delhi, Dec 3 (UNI) Goalkeeper Harjinder Singh played a steller role as Namdhari XI staged a superb comeback from behind to stroke out Punjab National Bank (PNB) 4-3 via tie breaker to regain the 18th Shastri Hockey tournament here today.

Namdhari XI, who trailed 0-1 till the last nine minutes of the final, fought back not only to equalise but emerged as the winner in the tie breaker.

However, the winners owe it to their custodian Harjinder Singh who brought off three stunning saves in the tie breaker to foil PNB's bid for the maiden title.

Namdharis who had won this title for the first time way back in 1992, survived some anxious moments in the 70-minute title encounter, this afternoon, before regaining it.

In a fast paced final, the Bankmen have themselves to blame for losing the match which they should have won.

They had an edge over their rivals for 61 minutes but suddenly slumped in the last nine minutes and that proved costly for them.

After a barren first half, Bankmen surged into the lead in the second minute of the second session through Yudvir who intercepted Parmod Kumar's long cross and with a reverse shot send the goal home (1-0).

Though Bankmen had major share of the ball, Namdharis kept making forays into the rival citadel and managed to earn as many as nine penalty corners but muffed them all.

But in the fag end of the game, the Namdharis launched all out offensive which rattled the Bank defence and in the 61st minute Karamjit Singh set up Bachitar Singh near the circle and he made no mistake in sending the ball into the cage for the equaliser.

The teams failed to score any goal in the remaining nine minutes and in order to break the deadlock tie breaker was enforced.

In the tie breaker, for the Namdharis, Anmolak Singh, Sher Singh and Gurvinder Singh were on the target while Gurcharan Singh and Harpal Singh muffed their strokes.

Yudhvir Singh and Jitander Saroha converted their strokes for the Bank while Gagan Preet, Vikas Toppo and Banmali missed their strokes.

UNI

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