Friday, 25 May, 2007

Sudden-death goal puts Maharashtra Police into semis

Published May 19

B D Narayankar

KHADKI: All eyes were on Alkesh Yesulkar. He had a tinge of confidence after having played a superb game in the middle. Finally he did it what was required of him. He struck one into the net to register an exciting for Maharashtra Police against Poona Police in the sudden death of the All India Dr Ambedkar Memorial Hockey Tournament played at Ammunition Factory Ground on Friday.

Maharashtra Police overwhelmed Poona Police 5-4 in the penalty shootout after both the team failed to score any goals in the allotted time. With this win, Maharashtra Police sailed into the semi-finals and would either play Green Meadows or Mahindra Sports Club.

Poona Police, after a magnificent show yesterday against Vikram Pillay Academy, failed to put up a good show against their Mumbai compatriots. They had a poor start in the penalty shootout when Datta Shinde scooped over the pole. Deepak Devar, however, brought cheers back to his team when sent in an equalizer 2-2 for Poona Police.

When the scores were equal 4-4 in the shootouts, Prakash Sapkal, the last match hero, hit the ball straight to Maharashtra Police goalkeeper Wahid Pathan, who punched the ball outside.

Maharashtra Police outplayed their rivals with sheer power and pace. They had plenty of chances, but could not sail the ball into the net, thanks to some freakish stops made by the defenders of Poona Police.

In the first half, Amol Bharsule broke in wonderfully dribbling into the Poona Police scoring zone after dodging two of their defenders, earning a penalty corner, which was spilled by them in the 30th minute.Poona Police had a good chance to take the lead in the first minute of the second half when Umesh Pulgam walloped a beautiful centre from the half that should have been trapped by Prakash Sapkal who was marked by only one Maharashtra Police defender.

Sooner, Maharashtra Police earned the penalty corner, but Niyaz Sheikh wasted Vijay Tatale’s pass taking a poor aim at the goal. It was again Tatale who gave a splendid passing shot to Azmat Sheikh on the left flank who had just to tap the ball to his centre forward mate, but took a selfish hit.

RESULTS: Maharashtra Police 5 (Alkesh Yesur 2, Azmat Sheikh, Vinod Shelonkar, Niyazullah) bt Poona Police 4 (Umesh Pulgam, Deepak Devar, Wajid Sheikh, Prakash Sapkal).

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