Air India defends title in Senior Men National C`ship

PTI| Updated: Mar 23, 2014, 19:14 PM IST

Lucknow: Defending champions Air India Sports Promotion Board retained their title after beating Comptroller & Auditor General of India 4-1 in an exciting final of the fourth Hockey India Senior Men National Championship 2014 (Division A) on Sunday.

Air India was high on confidence from the start as Gaganpreet Singh, bagging a penalty corner opportunity in the 14th minute, pounded the ball to the net for the first goal of the match.

The second goal was yet again a penalty corner which was again converted by Gaganpreet in the 29th minute. Going in the break the team was leading 2-0 at the Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium here.

In the second half, Air India kept its momentum and did not give Comptoller & Auditor General of India any opportunity to take over. In the 39th minute, Air India pounded their third goal with

Gaganpreet notching his hattrict of goals to give his team a 3-0 lead.

In the 59th minute Comptoller & Auditor General of India got a penalty strike which was taken by Dhyan Sungh and successfully converted. Air India then added one more goal to complete a well deserved win.

Earlier, hosts Uttar Pradesh overcame Railway Sports Promotion Board 4-2 to claim the third position in the championship.

It was Belsajar Horo of Railway Promotion Board, who opened the score with the help of a field goal in the 12th minute to give his team a 1-0 lead.

Uttar Pradesh went on the attack immediately and in the 24th minute Tushar Khandekar hit the equalizer. At the end of first half the score card read 1-1.

In the second half, Uttar Pradesh continued its attack and in the 41st minute, the team got a penalty corner opportunity which was easily converted by Diwarkar Ram.

The team did not stop here and added two more goals in the 51st and 60th minute, giving themselves a lead of 4-1.

Trying to make a comeback in the game, Railway Sport Promotion Board hit their second goal in the 65th minute and it was again Belsajar Horo who successfully converted the penalty corner opportunity.

They continued their attack and looked for opportunities even in the last few minutes but were unable to score further as the tournament ended with them taking the 4th position and Uttar Pradesh the 3rd position.

Air India Coach, Dhanraj Pillay said: "I am satisfied with the players and their performance today. They are good players and deserve to enter bigger platforms."

Harendra Singh, Comptroller & Auditor General Of India Coach said: "While the team played good throughout the tournament but they were under pressure in the finals. Today the boys did not showcase a good game but in the second half they gave their best."