IOC knock out Central; Western storm into Semis

Mumbai: Local teams Western and Central Railways experienced mixed fortunes in the 48th Bombay Gold Cup hockey tournament here today with the former booking their berth in the semifinals and the latter making an early exit.

Local super league champions Western overpowered Hockey Bhopal 5-1 for their second successive win to book berth in the last four from pool A.

Western’s victory also sent defending champions Army XI (Bangalore) out of the tournament.

Central bit the dust, going down 2-5 to Bangalore-based and star-studded Indian Oil Corporation with an array of present and former hockey internationals in their ranks, in pool C to exit from the tournament.

In the opening game of the day, Bharat Petroleum trounced local super league team Union Bank of India 6-2 in pool D.

IOC made a sedate beginning to their campaign against Central and had to wait for the 31st minute to break the deadlock, but then stepped on the gas to completely dominate the game.

IOC’s seasoned frontline duo of former internationals Prabjot Singh and Deepak Thakur clicked in unison to account for a pair of field goals apiece while current India full back R V Raghunath scored off their fourth penalty corner.

Central made some forays in the second half and scored through Vickto Singh, which made it 1-3 in their favour 15 minutes into the second half, and Narad Bahadur with a drag-flicked penalty corner goal that reduced the margin to 2-4 before Prabjot completed the rout three minutes from end.

IOC now play Punjab National Bank, who defeated Central 3-1 two days ago, tomorrow to decide which team goes through to Saturday’s semifinals from this pool.