Mumbai: In a do-or-die match marred by rough play for which three players were given marching orders, Air India edged out Punjab and Sind Bank 3-1 to enter the semi finals of the 48th Bombay Gold Cup hockey tournament today.
AI, whose goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh was red-carded by the umpire in the 67th minute of the concluding pool B match along with PSB`s captain Sarvanjit Singh and Karamjit Singh, will meet Bharat Petroleum Corporation on Saturday for a place in Sunday`s final.
BPCL got the better of a young and fighting Steel Authority of India team from Rourkela 3-2 in the concluding match of the day after coming from behind twice and scoring as many times through former India star Tushar Khandekar in the dying minutes of the pool D tie.
Star-studded Indian Oil Corporation subdued Punjab National Bank 2-1 in another pool C match to earn the right to meet local super league champions Western Railway, who qualified for the semis yesterday, for a place in the summit contest.
The talking point of the first game between AI and PSB was the ugly turn it took towards the end after the former led 3-1 through a hat-trick of field goals from India discard Shivendra Singh in the 32nd, 38th and 56th minutes.
PSB got their consolation goal from captain Sarvanjit in the 51st minute before he was given the marching orders.
SAIL went ahead twice against their more experienced rivals BPCL through goals from Alsem Lakra (8th minute) and Anand Kujur (64th) which were neutralised by Amar Aiyamma (16th) and Khandekar (66th), who then scored the match winner one minute from the end.
In the second game of the day, IOC packed too many guns against PNB and led 2-0 at half time through goals from their star striker Prabjot Singh (20th) and India full back R V Raghunath (32).
PNB strove hard to break through and finally succeeded when Jitender Saroha converted a penalty corner in the 65th minute to reduce the margin of defeat.