After 70 odd minutes of good hockey, 2 goals for each team, a few rounds of shootout and some umpires confabulations, Air India and IOC were declared the Joint Winners of the MCC Murugappa Gold Cup Hockey 2012.
MCC Murugappa Gold Cup Hockey 2012 Prizes:
Winners: Air India and IOC
Player of the Tournament: VR Raghunath (IOC)
Best Forward: Joga Singh (Air India)
Best Midfielder: Vikas Pillay (Air India)
Best Defender/Goalkeeper: Gurpreet Singh (Air India)
Man of the Final Match: Hamza Mujtaba (IOC)
IOC looked strong in the first half which ended without any score. IOC continued in the same way after returning from the lemon break. Former international Hamza Mujataba scored in the 38th minute to earn a lead for his Team IOC and VR Raghunath found the target with a low flick penalty corner in the 54th minute to double the lead to 2-0.
With IOC’s own goal in the 55th minute, on Vikram Pillay’s goal bound ball, Air India got a chance to come back in the game and they tested IOC defenders. Experienced forward Shivendra Singh, otherwise off color in the tournament, scored the equalizer (2-2) for Air India.
Both the teams raided each other’s danger zone to find that elusive winner but could not find one. Surprisingly, extra time was not played; hence the match had to be decided on Penalty Shoot-out, i.e. one-on-one situation, where attacker starts from quarter line to get better of the goalie to score in just 8 seconds.
The first shoot out taken by Vikas Sharma of IOC, who found the target after timekeeper’s whistle marking for 8 seconds completion and on field umpires signaled goal resulting in a strong reaction from the Air India camp. Girish Pimpale of Air India equalized it and the score board read 3-3.
Then, SK Uthappa found the target but the ball crossed the goal line after the 8 seconds whistle was blown, though it was released before that. And the goal was awarded. Air India’s Coach Dhanraj Pillay ran to the on field umpire and protested, but the shoot- out continued. And Air India equalized when Arjun Halappa found the target and electronic score-board display in Mayor Radhakrishnan stadium read 4-4.
Both the goalkeepers Gurpreet Singh and Devesh Chauhan saved the next two shot each from Deepak Thakur and Bharat Chhikara of IOC, and Shivendra Singh and A B Cheeyana of Air India respectively. When, Gurpreet stopped the initial shot on target from Bharat Chhikara in the 4th shoot out, the ball got held up/entangled on him for sometime and Chhikara did not have a clue of its whereabouts and then Gurpreet kicked the ball out of playing area.
Next up, Prabhjot Singh was getting ready to take his turn, while Gurpreet Singh was preparing himself in the post, and the electronic score-board changed to 4-3 in favor of Air India without informing IOC players or officials as one of the decision of on field umpires was overturned by the judge and IOC refused to take final shot. Finally, after a long heated discussion among officials and players, with supporters cheering for their teams, both the finalists – Air India and IOC were declared joint winners of MCC Murugappa Gold Cup Hockey Tournament 2012.