Bengaluru: It was yet another day of draws as both matches on Day Two of the Dolo-650 Bangalore Cup Invitation All India Hockey Tournament (Men) 2019 here on Sunday.
While Army XI drew 0-0 with Indian Air Force in their Pool B match, Indian Navy’s stupendous effort in the final quarter saw them hold Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) to a thrilling 1-1 draw in the second Pool A match. On the opening day, Bharat Petroleum drew 2-2 with All India Customs in Pool A and Hockey Karnataka drew 2-2 with Air India in Pool B.
The first match of the day between Army XI and Indian Air Force was a game of missed opportunities for Army XI who failed to convert from as many as six PCs and a handful of field goals. Even though the Army XI defenders did well with their goalie Akash Chikte in good nick to keep Indian Air Force strikers from scoring, their forwards flicking far wide from the post in multiple attempts was a major setback that resulted in a 0-0 stalemate.
Riding high on their recent Bangalore Super Division success, IOCL began well against nemesis Indian Navy in the second match of the day. The forwardline featuring star strikers Talwinder Singh, Affan Yusuf, Yuvraj Walmiki, Sumit Kumar and Armaan Qureshi set up goal-scoring opportunities from the first hooter. They earned a PC minute into the first quarter but a poor execution enabled Indian Navy defenders to ward off an early lead for IOCL.
It was former India player Yuvraj Walmiki who scored the opening goal for IOCL in the 34th minute as he shot a powerful flick from the top of the circle beating Indian Navy goalkeeper Sanjay B. The following minutes saw IOCL being awarded three more PCs but all in vain. Their forwards kept the tempo up as they created space in the striking circle but failed to muster a goal.
The final quarter, however, belonged to the Indian Navy as they bounced back with an aggressive attack that stretched the IOCL defence. They created three PCs and eventually converted in their third attempt as Jugraj Singh lived up to the billing as he struck a powerful flick past IOCL goalie Pankaj Kumar Rajak. With another 1-1 draw, the tournament remains open for all eight teams to make the Semi-Final on Saturday.