AI beat IOC to claim Obaidullah Khan Gold Cup

Bhopal: Last year`s runners-up Air India (AI) lifted the International Obaidullah Khan Gold Cup hockey tournament title by defeating holders Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) 4-3 in the final.

For Air India, Shivendra Singh and captain Arjun Halappa scored two goals each last night.

AI played an attacking game from the start, and led 2-1 at the half time.

Olympian Shivendra scored his first goal in the seventh minute before Halappa doubled the lead for AI in the 24th minute.

Four minutes later, Gurjinder Singh reduced the margiun for IOC, scoring from a penalty corner.

But after the breather Shivendra scored from a penalty corner before Gurjinder converted another set piece for IOC to make the scoreline 2-3.

In the 59th minute, Halappa scored his second to make the scoreline 4-2 in favour of AI.

Even though Gurjinder completed his hat-trick in the 64th minute, it was not enough for IOC to defend the title.

In the third-fourth place play-off match, Punjab and Sindh Bank beat ONGC 3-2.

Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan gave away the awards.

Winner AI returned home with a cash prize of Rs 21 lakh and a trophy while runners-up IOC received a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh.

AI`s Shivendra was adjudged man-of-the-match, while Gurjinder was declared man-of-the-tournament.

Abdul Samad of Bhopal Red was adjudged best goal-keeper, his teammate Affan Yuosuf as best forward, Diwakar Ram of ONGC as best defender and Vikram Pillai of AI as best mid-fielder.

Several former players and Olympians including Aslam Sher Khan, Sameer Dad, Dhanraj Pillai, Ashok Dhyanchand, Jalaludding Rizvi, Inamur Rahman, Mumtaz Malik, Saleem Abbasi, Khursheed Ali and Altafur Rahman were felicitated on this occasion.


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