Hosts Indian Air Force put their best foot forward to overwhelm Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala 3-1 to set up a final date with Army XI in the 3rd Marshall of the Air Force Arjan Singh Memorial Hockey Tournament being played at the Astroturf Hockey Ground of 3 BRD in Chandigarh. The Airforcemen who had earlier decimated CISF and Bangladesh Air Force by 7-1 and 5-2 margins to top Pool A. Indian Air Force were runners-up of the inaugural edition in 2018 when they had lost to Punjab Police 2-5 in the final. Interestingly, the winners and runners-up team of the 2019 edition – Integrated Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai and South-Central Railway are out of the competition, having failed to make it to the semifinal stage.
Army XI was embroiled in a intense encounter with Indian Oil in the other semifinals. Both teams were locked 4-4 in regulation, following which the shootout had to be applied. Army XI goalkeeper Arasu produced three telling saves to show the tournament exit door to Indian Oil as the Armynen won the shootout 3-0. This was Army XI’s second consecutive final appearance after they had featured in the final of the Obaidullah Heritage Cup at Bhopal, where they had finished runners-up to Railway Sports Promotion Board.
The tournament is being organised by the Indian Air Force Sports Control Board (AFSCB) – it is being revived after a three-year hiatus owing to Covid-19.