Mumbai: Len Aiyappa fired in drag-flicked penalty corner goals, once in each half to pilot star-studded Air India into the final of the 9th All India Guru Tegh Bahadur Gold Cup hockey tournament at the Mahindra Stadium.
The shaven-headed full back put the local outfit into the lead in the 8th minute before Didar Singh slotted home a penalty corner in the 47th to bring Indian Oil, who play in the Bangalore league, on level terms in the semi final.
Aiyappa scored again in the 58th minute with another drag flicked penalty corner try to power AI into a final clash tomorrow with Oil and Natural Gas Commission of Delhi who shut out local side Central Railway 2-0 in an earlier semi final.
ONGC notched both the goals in the first half through penalty corner conversions by Baljinder Singh and Jayanta in the 22nd and 26th minutes of play. For Central, Akhilesh Singh even failed to score from the spot.
In the AI-IOC clash, the airmen were superior with veteran Dhanraj Pillay providing the thrusts from the midfield. IOC made the stray moves up front but were largely confined to defending their citadel with some luck and pluck.
After the teams were brought level by Didar Singh, AI muffed two golden chances to seal the proceedings but Girish Pimpale and V S Vinay missed open goals before Aiyappa came to their rescue and completed a brace.
First Published: Monday, January 11, 2010, 18:38