Mumbai, Dec 25 (UNI) Air-India sneaked into the last eight stage in the Matoshree Chashak state-level kabaddi tournament here today.
Led by international Gaurav Shetty, the airmen defeated Mumbai Police 29-26 to force a three way tie along with Bank of India (BOI) in their group on points and scores.
In the end, Air India made it with BOI topping the group. The airmen had lost to BOI 28-3 and the bankmen in turn lost to the policemen 27-30, which left Air India with the task of beating Mumbai Police.
They were sitting pretty at 26-17 at one stage but the cops inched closer 28-26 when Air India's Gaurav got the crucial one point for a win and a passage into the quarter finals.
At the end of the match, BOI had a points tally of 58-58, Air India had 57-57 and the Police 56-56. In the ultimate analysis, the policemen let it slip against BOI against whom they were 22-8, 30-18 up in the second half. They gave away a few early points to the bankmen, which finally improved their chances.
The other quarter final berths were clinched by Bharat Petroleum, Railway Police, Western Railway, MS Police, Mahindras and Raigad Police.
Strong contenders, Western Railway, helped by Deepchand and Ravi Radke in attack and Hemant Radke in defence, toyed with the State Police and Union Bank of India, whom they beat 33-19 and 25-7 respectively.
The other team in the title race, Bharat Petroleum hardly worked up a sweat to demolish Indian Navy 25-8. Railway Police too, made it look easy as they breezed past the Navymen at 26-10.
Mahindras and Raigad Police earned their place as the third team in the fray, Central Railway pulled out owing to injuries to their players.
Shivshakti the favourites, Suvarna Yug (Pune) and Ankur entered the quarter finals of the women's tournament. Shivshakti, led by international Meghali Korgaonkar and her statemate Suvarna Bartakke, made short work of Amar Hind Mandal by a 43-18 margin. Ankur defeated Vishwashanti 24-15 after trailing 9-10 at the break. Savita Chavan and Trupti Suvarna did all the damage for Ankur against Vishwashanti.
The match between Ankur and Suvarna Yug for the top spot in the group turned out to be a thriller. Suvarna Yug were up 31-30 with about a minute left. But Savita Chavan made it 33-31 only to see Deepika Joseph of the Pune side steal three points in two raids to bring her team up 34-33. An unsuccessful catching attempt by captain and international Sumati Pujari and Ankur trapping Deepika Joseph saw the Pune girls on the losing side at 34-36.
The line-up in the women's last eight stage is -- Suvarna Yug vs Rajmata Jijau, Ankur vs Dr Shirodkars, Shivshakti vs Shivai (Pune) and Veer Jijamata vs Amar Hind Mandal.