| A Bombay XI player (left) tries to get past a Punjab Police rival during their Beighton Cup match at East Bengal ground on Friday
Calcutta: Defending champions Punjab Police kicked off their Beighton Cup defence on a promising note at the East Bengal ground Friday afternoon. Playing without their three India internationals — Jugraj Singh, Gagan Ajit Singh and Daljit Singh Dhillon — the policemen were still a handful for Bombay XI as they won the quarter final league encounter 3-2.
The two goals Bombay XI managed were only after they had let in three and did nothing but make the bottomline look competitive. Gabbar Singh’s 21st-minute strike gave Punjab Police the cushion in the opening session.
Harmik Singh doubled that advantage four minutes after change of ends, off a penalty corner. Gabbar got his second soon after to make it 3-0 for Punjab Police. Gurmit Singh pulled two back for the Bombay team, the second one coming in the final minute.
Former champions Punjab & Sind Bank (PSB) were even more ruthless, dismissing CRPF 3-0 at CCFC. Baljit Singh Saini drew first blood after six minutes with a neat indirect penalty corner conversion. Kulwinder Singh put finishing touches to a Parminder Singh solo break shortly before half-time.
Parminder was again in the thick of action, a stick-charge against him fetching PSB a penalty stroke. Ajitpal Singh did the needful with calmness belying his young years.
Three up within 50 minutes after completely dominating the first session, PSB loosened the reins a bit. CRPF showed urgency and forced a series of penalty corners. Six of those came and went, but the PSB defence stood firm.
Indian Oil stunned
Army XI caught the star-studded Indian Oil napping with a late five-minute burst at the Mohun Bagan ground. Down 1-2 till the one-hour mark, the armymen turned the game on its head to win 4-2.
Army XI opened the scoring through Cyprian Aind in the 16th minute. India star Prabhjot Singh levelled scores after 10 minutes while Inder Singh put Indian Oil 2-1 in front soon after the breather.
Then came the army ambush. Harpreet Singh and Paramjit Singh utilised two penalty corners to push Indian Oil in arrears. Paramjit rubbed salt to injury with a field goal.
In an early afternoon duel at CCFC, BSF rode Marianus Lakra’s fifth-minute goal to victory over Air India. Air India had only themselves to blame, squandering as many as 10 penalty corners.