Published May 18
B D Narayankar
KHADKI: Two late saves by Vishal Gajarmal in the penalty shootouts and hat-trick by Prakash Sapkal powered Poona City Police into the quarterfinals of All India Dr Ambedkar Memorial Hockey Tournament played at Ammunition Factory Ground on Thursday after trouncing Vikram Sports Academy (VSA) 7-6 in the penalty shootouts after the score was 3-3 at full time.
In the first half, Poona Police did all the running and attacking. In 5th minute, their forwards created space for an opportunity and got a penalty stroke after VSA defender Amit Pandey was faulted for dangerous tackling. Prakash Sapkal blazed in the first of his four goals, giving an early lead to his team.
Poona Police did not stop there, but continued their show of urgency and powered their second goal through Sapkal in the 27th on Vinod Nimbore's cross.
VSA gallantly fought back in the second half. They earned a penalty stroke in the 36th minute and Navneet Sorankar made no mistake in converting it into a goal.
Soon after in the 41st minute, VSA scripted another goal through Vineet Nimal who scooped the deflected ball past goalkeeper Vishal Gajarmal. VSA struck again in the 51st minute, Navneet Sorankar executing a wonderful goal, putting his team ahead Poona Police 3-2.
VSA’s excitement, however, was short-lived as in the next minute Sapkal scored an equaliser 3-3 for Poona Police.
Except Deepak Devar, Datta Shinde, Umesh Pulgam, Wajid Sheikh and Prakash Sapkal scored penalties for Poona Police. And two saves from Vishal Gajarmal of Poona Police wrecked havoc for VSA, whose strikers -- Alwyn Alexander and Miraj Sheikh -- failed to convert penalties. Other penalty scorers for VSA were Navneet Sorankar, Vikas Pillay and Bhakti Thakur.
Kolhapur XI storms into semis: Meanwhile, Kolhapur XI stormed into semi-finals after beating Metro XI 1-0. The winning team will either meet Super XI or RPF Mumbai. The lone goal of the match was scored by Deepak Malawe on Ashok Chopre’s pass in the 10th minute.
SCORES: Poona Police 7 (Prakash Sapkal 4, Datta Shinde, Umesh Pulgam, Wajid Sheikh) bt VSA 6 (Navneet Sorankar 3, Vinit Nimal, Vikas Pillay, Bhakti Thakur); Kolhapur XI 1 (Deepak Malawe) bt Metro XI 0.