Published May 23
B D Narayankar
KHADKI: Unlike yesterday’s game plan, Maharashtra Police played an attacking game right from the word go much to the chagrin of Kolhapur XI, who until today played excellent hockey, even beating Rashtriya Chemical Fertilisers, probably the strongest team in the All India Dr Ambedkar Memorial Hockey Tournament.
In a one-sided final match played at Ammunition Factory Ground on Tuesday, Maharashtra Police walloped Kolhapur XI 6-1. ‘’We had a plan up our sleeves to play an attacking game and score at least a goal inside 10 minutes from the start of the play,” Wahid Pathan, captain of Maharashtra Police, told Maharashtra Herald.
Azam Sheikh put in a beautiful reverse flick into the goal beating Kolhapur goalkeeper Satyajeet Chile after receiving a pass from Sandeep Nagrurkar in 8th minute of the match. ‘’The goal put us on the driver’s seat and pushed our opponent’s on the backfoot,” Wahid said.
After achieving their first target, Maharashtra Police began playing freely and latching on to the ball floated in by their strikers and mid-fielders on every given opportunity. Niyazullah, the centre-half, crunched in the penalty corner, giving 2-0 lead to his team in 17th minute.
Kolhapur XI had a golden opportunity just before the first half. Imran Sheikh struck the penalty corner, but was well saved by seasoned goalkeeper Wahid.
Continuing their attacking game, Maharashtra Police scored their third goal in the first six minutes of the second half. Amol Bhosale creamed in the goal on goalkeeper Satyajeet’s deflection. For the next six minutes, they did not allow Kolhapur XI to dominate and in the process soaked out their confidence.
The next two goals came in quick session. One in 47th and second in 48th minute. The first was a penalty corner from Sandeep Nagrurkar and the second probably was the best goal of the tournament. Azmat Sheikh angled in the ball on a blazing cross from Rahul Mehkare.
After taking 5-0 lead, Maharashtra Police relaxed a bit and conceded the lone goal (Deepak Malai) to Kolhapur XI in the 50th minute.
Rahul Mehkare scored the sixth goal for Maharashtra Police in 53rd minute thus sealing Kolhapur XI’s fate.
As far as Kolhapur XI performance was concerned, they appeared a disjointed team. One of their key players – Mukund Rajput -- had a pretty ordinary day. He was the main architect for Kolhapur XI to reach the finals. Without any substantial contribution from him, his team faultered in launching an attack.
SCORES: Maharashtra Police 6 (Azam Sheikh, Niyazullah, Amol Bhosale, Sandeep Nagrurkar, Azmat Sheikh, Rahul Mehkare) bt Kolhapur XI 1 (Deepak Malai)