Hockey Bengaluru in final; ONGC derails Railways

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Chennai, Aug 5 (PTI): ONGC shocked defending champion 5-3 while Hockey Bengaluru overcame Punjab National Bank 3-1 in the semi-finals of the 91st All-India MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament here.

In the first semifinal, ONGC rallied brilliantly after being 2-3 down at half-time to dash the hopes of Railways.

Mandeep Antil put ONGC ahead in the 7th minute by scoring from a penalty corner but Railways neutralised the lead the very next minute through a penalty corner conversion of their own.

Looking to step up the pace, Railways went into an aggressive mode and scored two more goals in the pace of seven minutes. Raju Paul, who has had some success in the tournament, found the net in the 19th minute to put the team 2-1 ahead.

Sheshe Gowda scored from a penalty stroke in the 26th minute as Railways looked in control.

Tyron Pereira got one past the Railways goalkeeper in the 35th minute to keep ONGC in contention.

In the second half, ONGC was a transformed team and pumped in three goals past the stunned Railways defence to snatch a memorable win and a place in tomorrow’s final.

Diwakar Ram was at the forefront of ONGC’s fightback as he slammed home from two penalty corners, one in the 42nd minute and the last goal in the 64th.

Bikash Toppo added to the tally, by scoring from a penalty corner in the 61st minute.

The Bengaluru team, the surprise package of the tournament, put paid to the aspirations of a strong PNB, which had come into the last four with an all-win record in the round robin phase.

They went ahead in the 10th minute when Sandeep K Singh scored a field goal. Umesha K R doubled the tally when he slotted home in the 25th minute.

In the second half, PNB began aggressively. Gagandeep Singh got the bankmen back into the match by converting a penalty corner in the 42nd minute. With the clock ticking away, PNB kept pushing even as Bengaluru defence held firm.

The third goal from Jen Jen Singh in the 61st minute shut the door on PNB as Bengaluru held on for a well-deserved victory.

After the thrashing at the hands of Railways in the opener, Bengaluru has picked itself up with a fighting win over BPCL followed by a convincing win over Punjab & Sind Bank.

Now, only ONGC stands between it and glory. The summit clash will be played at 6 pm tomorrow.

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