The come-from-behind win, the third for PNB, also ensured that they finish at the top of Pool B with nine points © Getty Images (Representational Image)
The come-from-behind win, the third for PNB, also ensured that they finish at the top of Pool B with nine points © Getty Images (Representational Image)

Mumbai: Punjab National Bank (PNB) rallied from a first half deficit to defeat Comptroller and Auditors General (CAG) 2-1 in a crucial Pool B all-Delhi league match and enter the semifinals of the 12th PMC Bank-Guru Tegh Bahadur All India Gold Cup Hockey Championship on Tuesday. The come-from-behind win, the third for PNB, also ensured that they finish at the top of Pool B with nine points. They were joined in the last four by local outfit Western Railway, who lost 5-6 to Hockey Bhopal, and yet managed to make it to the last four as the second-best in Pool B behind the Punjab bankmen.

PNB, who required a win at all cost to progress to the next round, conceded a goal just before the half-time with S S Bundela converting a penalty corner to put CAG in front in the 33rd minute. However, after switching ends, CAG adopted a defensive approach and went into a shell to yield the advantage to PNB. PNB’s hardwork was rewarded as an unchallenged Naveen Antil fired past the pads of CAG goalkeeper Harjeet Singh to equalise in the 51st minute. Four minutes later, PNB doubled the lead when Gagandeep Singh slammed home from the top of ‘D’ after receiving Hardeep Singh’s cross from the right. The semi-finals will be played on Thursday after Wednesday’s rest day.

Results: Hockey Bhopal 6 (Mehrajuddin 5th minute, Osaf ur Rehman 12th, 18th, 55th, Sadab Haseeb 50th, 59th) beat Western Railway 5 (Amit Rohidas 10th, 46th, 57, 61, Stanly Minz 21st). Punjab National Bank 2 (Naveen Antil 51st, Gagandeep Singh 55th) beat CAG (SS Bundela 33rd).

Later in the concluding Pool A league match played under lights, RCF (Rail Coach Factory), Kapurthala scored a stunning 6-4 win against defending champions Air India. However, both team advanced to the semi-final from this pool. RCF finished in pole position with 10 points and Air India were placed second with 9 points.

Semi-final line-up: Punjab National Bank vs Air India RCF vs Western Railway.