Knockout matches can be tension-packed affairs and both Tamil Nadu XI and Rail Coach Factory (RCF) experienced it in the inaugural Pool A match of the Gooncha 57th Senior Nehru Hockey Tournament at the South-Central Railways Sports Complex in Hyderabad. But it was RCF who in the end had the last laugh.
The Rail Coach Factory outfit, who did not give a good account themselves in the 38th Surjit Hockey Tourney in Jalandhar, did not feature in the 31st Lal Bahadur Shastri Hockey Tournament. The blue-and-black brigade struck in the first half in a match that did not live to great heights.
The match came alive in the second half with Tamil Nadu XI bringing their fighting qualities to the fore with Satish equalising and ensuring the third quarter belonged to them as Sayyam Kumar gave them the lead.
RCF were not prepared to throw in the towel in the final quarter as they raided the Tamil Nadu XI citadel consistently and were rewarded as Karanpal Singh converted a penalty stroke to make the scoreline 2-2- and soon Deepak put RCF ahead and that panned out to be the match-clincher.
Earlier, a colourful opening ceremony marked the start of Gooncha 57th Senior Nehru Hockey Tournament.
Besides RCF, Tamil Nadu XI, Mumbai XI and Hockey Maharashtra are other teams in Pool A of the knockout phase. Telangana X, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and Delhi are pitted in Pool B of the knockout phase.