Indian Navy goalkeeper Sanjay Bhaskar has been in sublime form in the JIS 124th Beighton Cup, especially in the business end of the tournament. Sanjay, who pulled off his goalkeeping shootout heroics that shunted out defending champions Indian Oil of the tourney in the semifinal stage, brought his class to the fore churning out three quality saves as Indian Navy clinched the JIS 124th Beighton Cup at the SAI Sports Complex in Kolkata.
Sanjay’s shootout heroics capped off the ‘comeback story’ for the Navymen, who had trailed 0-2 at one stage in the first half. The Ajay Kumar-coached Indian Navy outfit were pushed on the backfoot when Gursimran Singh socred a go-ahead goal for Punjab National Bank off a penalty corner. The bankmen secured a two-goal cushion when Gurjinder Singh nicked in off a Deepak assist.
Indian Navy digged deep and reduced the deficit when Aaquib Raahim scored just before half-time but clearly Punjab National Bank held the advantage going into the break. The Navymen then announced their comeback in the match when Ajinkya Yadav darted down the middle and scored a superb solo goal out-witting Punjab National Bank goalkeeper Avnas Gandhi.
Both teams had all to play for going into the final quarter but goals eluded them as the contest headed into a shootout where Sanjay Bhaskar dazzled to help Indian Navy secure a 3-2 shootout win overall 5-4 scoreline. This is the second time that Punjab National Bank had finished runners-up – at the 123rd Beighton Cup held in November 2019, they lost to Indian Oil 0-2.
It may be worth recalling that the prestigious Beighton Cup was initiated in 1895 and Calcutta Naval Volunteers AC won the inaugural edition. The Beighton Cup is named after its donor late T D Beighton, legal remembrancer of the government of West Bengal. The reputed tournament was been held every year since 1895 save for two occasions – it was first not held in 1947 due to riots and then again in 2017 as the SAI Astroturf was not tournament-ready.