Navy stuns Punjab Police to storm into semi-finals

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Mumbai, Sep 18 (UNI) Indian Navy shocked favourites Punjab Police 2-1 to storm into the semi-finals of the eighth All India Guru Tegh Bahadur Gold Cup Hockey Tournament played at the Mahindra Stadium here today.

Underdogs Navy surprised their formidable rivals with an early goal that put the visitors under pressure from the start.

Surendra Kumar gave Navy the perfect start with an opportunistic goal in the third minute.

With the policemen yet to settle down, Navy held sway and raided the rival citadel at regular intervals.

The sailors were rewarded again for their attacking play and consolidated their position when A U Haque took the rival defence by surprise in the 20th minute to set the stage for an interesting battle.

Behind by two goals and playing under pressure Punjab Police were in a desperate position to keep their hopes alive. They held on and managed to reduce the margin in the 30th minute through former India drag flicker Jugraj Singh, who kept them afloat with a firm push off their first penalty corner.

Punjab Police battled hard to come back into the match but they squandered chances, including two penalty corners in a barren second half, as Navy held on to their first half lead to set up a semi-final clash with Air India.

In the other quarter-final of the day, star-studded Air India survived a late charge to overcome formidable ONGC 4-3 in a thriller, after comfortably leading 3-1 at half time and 4-1 by the 59th minute.

But ONGC came back into the match with two stunning goals in three minutes as India drag-flicker Diwakar Ram struck in the 63rd and 66th minutes to give Air India a late scare.

ONGC had an opportunity to restore parity but they squandered a penalty corner just two minutes from the end.

Former India drag-flicker Sandeep Singh fired three goals and Bruno Lugun scored for Murugappa Gold Cup winners Air India, while Parmod Kumar was the other scorer for ONGC.

UNI GS RN PY GC2112

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