Pune, Apr 23 (UNI) Star studded Air India recorded a 4-2 win over Indian Oil, in the finals of the All India Mayor's trophy, played at the Synthetic Polygrass Stadium at Pimpri, near the city.
In the match, hosted by Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, yesterday, Maratha Light Infantry (MLI), Belgaum, posted a 3-1 win over the hosts PCMC XI to grab the third slot.
The tournament, conducted under the auspices of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), and the Maharashtra Hockey Association (MHA), saw 17 state teams from all over the country and three hosts teams vie for the honours.
Air India claimed the winners prize money of Rs 1,11,111, while the runner up had to be content with the cash award of Rs 55,555, the third placed MLI with Rs 33,333.
The AIR India, boasting of a number of experienced international players and an Olympian Vikram Pillay, in their ranks exerted pressure right from the world go. They drew the first blood in the 13th minute, when Joga Singh pounced on the rebound of the rival custodian Devesh Chavan's pads after a goal mouth melee. Indian Oil, a mixture of experienced and young players, took time to settle down and came into their own in the 31st minute, when their speedy frontliner Hamza Mustafa capitalized on linkman Kamlesh Parihar's spade work and restored parity.
Continuing to keep the pressure on Air India, India Oil increased the lead three minutes later via Aldin D' Souza, who found the mark, after collecting pass from Gaurav Tokhi. They made it 3-1 when Tokhi scored in the 28th minute with a beautiful reverse flick from the pass by captain Vinod Pillay.
Resuming with a 3-1 advantage, after the breather, it was the Indian Oil boys who dictated term as they kept the rival citadel under seize. They thus reduced the margin in the 65th minute via Inderjit Chadda who connected a defence splitting pass from their seasoned international Didar Singh.
The winners, however, were denied a goal when umpire Vijay Shetty of Mumbai disallowed it minutes before the break, when Joga Singh connected drag flicker Len Aiyappa, stinging push in the circle.
Len, who emerged the top scorer in the tournament by scoring five goals, made ample amends to score his side fourth goal in the 43rd minute. Air India had forced six penalty corners, out of which they could convert only one, while India Oil had four which proved abortive.
At the end, Kalyan Bengra of MLI Belgaum was adjudged the best player of the tournament, the best goal keeper award went to Arvind Jerome of Karnataka, while the best disciplined team award went to ASC Bangalore.
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