57th Gooncha Nehru Hockey: The Resurgence of Indian Navy

Indian Navy have looked one of the improved sides after a rather sluggish start to their domestic hockey campaign. At the 38th Surjit Hockey Tournament in Jallandhar, the Navymen went down to Punjab National Bank but not before putting up a fight by the odd goal in five and wasn’t able to maintain the same intensity in their second tie against Indian Oil which they lost tamely 2-5 – a defeat that shunted them out of the tournament in the quarterfinal league stage.

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Indian Navy again failed to make it to the semifinals of the 31st Lal Bahadur Shastri Hockey Tourney after remaining winless – losing to Railways Sports Promotion Board 1-3, Punjab National Bank 0-1 and playing out a 1-1 draw against CAG. The black-and-white brigade turned over a new leaf at the 57th Gooncha Senior Nehru Hockey Tournament being played at the South-Central Railway Sports Complex in Hyderabad. They made a confident march to the semifinals from Pool B after playing out a fighting 2-2 draw against Surjit Hockey Tourney and Lal Bahadur Shastri Hockey Tourney champions Railways Sports Promotion Board. The Navymen did not have the best of starts and trailed by a brace in the first quarter – it looked like they would have a mountain to climb but they orchestrated their resurgence via fullback Jugraj Singh who let his two drag-flicks do the talking after Joginder Singh had given Railways the early advantage with two short corner strikes. All the four penalty corner goals came in the first half and that’s how the scoreline remained when the final hooter was blown.

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Indian Navy’s semifinal passage was made easier by Punjab & Sind Bank who slugged out CAG 1-0 to hand the latter their second consecutive defeat The Navymen’s final game against CAG does not attach any significance, in terms of qualifying for the semifinals. Their only sore point will be the ten-minute yellow card handed to Aakim Rahim after his wild stick swing severely injured Railways forward Pardeep Singh.

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