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Bombay Gold Cup: Day VIII: PSB stun BPCL (4/23/2009)
--K. Arumugam
PSB stun BPCL with late goal

Punjab & Sind Bank stunned last year’s runners-up Bharat Petroleum with Parminder Singh’s 67th minute winner to clinch an exciting 3-2 win in Group D of the elite quarter-final league, in the 47th Bombay Gold Cup Hockey Tournament at the MHA-Mahindra Stadium on an eventful Thursday.

Earlier, in Group A, defending champions Army XI recovered from an early setback in their opening tie to fashion a 4-1 win over a gritty Southern Railway who crashed to their second defeat in the group in as many ties and are out of contention.

Southern Railway, who delighted in the first half, were rewarded with a 32nd minute goal scored by Mahendra Singh that gave them a 1-0 lead at half time and reflected their intentions of posing a strong challenge.

They held the formidable Army XI in check and showed signs of an upset win with a beautiful combination of short passes, individual skills and impressive moves.

But the script changed three minutes into the second half when Army XI earned a penalty stroke and captain D. Mahalik converted.

The stroke discouraged Southern and affected their smooth rhythm and fortunes as Army XI took charge and scored at regular intervals through Sunil Ekka, Eliazer Lakra and Chitranjan Singh.

2007 winners Bharat Petroleum crashed to their first defeat in two games against a lively Punjab & Sind Bank in an action packed encounter.

In a match that had all the chills and thrills as fortunes fluctuated, 2004 winners PSB stunned BPCL with a brilliant strike by Kulwinder Singh for a 26th minute lead.

But BPCL struck back to draw level at half time with a neat penalty corner conversion by Gurpreet Singh.

In an exciting second half of a quality contest between two formidable teams, BPCL went on to take a 2-1 lead in the 51st minute following Pundalik Ballery’s brilliant strike that kicked off a nail-biting final quarter.

Had Amar Aiyappa fired home instead of scooping over with only the goalkeeper to beat in the 66th minute and had Irshad Ali’s firm push not struck the post a little later, BPCL could well have sealed their place in the semi-finals.

But the miss proved costly as BPCL escaped a threat soon after when PSB’s Daler Singh hit wide from the top of the circle with the defence in disarray.

As PSB went on the offensive in search of the winner, Daler made amends with a free-hit that went all along the ground to Parminder who deflected it to the boards.

Results: Group A: Army XI 4 (D. Mahadik, Sunil Ekka, Eliazer Lakra, Chitranjan Singh) bt Southern Rly 1 (Mahendra Singh).

Group D: Punjab & Sind Bank 3 (Kulwinder Singh, Bikramjit Singh, Parminder Singh) bt BPCL 2 (Gurpreet Singh, Pundalik Ballery).

FRIDAY: 2.15 p.m. Border Security Force vs Western Railway (Group C); 4.15 p.m. Karnataka XI vs Panposh XI, Orissa (Group B)

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