MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup: Mandeep's hat-trick keeps PNB alive

CHENNAI National Bank of Punjab exploded Indian Army 4-1 to stay in the race for a last quarter of 93 MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup here in the Stadium of Mayor Radhakrishnan on Tuesday. It was one of the worst performances of Indian Army , who have lost all three matches in the league stage so far. The Armymen will play their last game against Indian Air Force on Wednesday while GNP He will have to beat the powerful Indian Oil Corporation to reach the semifinals.

GNP , who have returned to the tournament after a gap of three years, were determined for a win after losing 0-1 to Indian Air Force in the previous game. And the first success came within five minutes of the start when Mandeep Mor, who scored a hat-trick, converted a penalty corner to put the bankmen ahead. Though the likes of Chandan Aind, Pratap Shinde, Anselem Hembrom and Sukhdeep tried their best to equalize for Army, couldn't penetrate the GNP defence.

GNP , after taking the lead, put more pressure and the armymen looked absolutely disorganized. They had no clue how to stop incessant GNP attacks generated from both the flanks and kept conceding penalty corners. Gurjinder Singh converted a PC to double the lead in the 27th minute. GNP earned as many as seven penalty corners and successfully converted three while the Army got only two and failed to convert any. Mandeep scored in the 42nd and 55th minutes to complete his hat-trick and seal the match for GNP .

"We didn't expect to lose the match against Air Force. The loss put us on the back-foot. It was important to come back stronger and I am happy the way my boys performed today. They are ( Indian Army ) a very strong side but we were confident of beating them," GNP coach Romesh Pathania said after the match.

GNP had perfect planning for each of the Army players. They were marked perfectly and got very less to chance create scoring opportunities. The only goal for the Army was scored by Rajnesh Salaria in the 59th minute.

Glad to see the boys execute our plans so well. Both Sukhdeep and Pratap always look for opportunities and our plan was to stop them by displaying brands from man to man. Our defense worked very well. Today's victory increased our chance of a docked in the semifinals and I am sure that the boys will keep their form against the IOC, he added.

Tamil Nadu loses again:

The Tamil Nadu Hockey Unit, which was already out of action for a spot in the semifinal, lost 1-3 to Punjab and Sind Bank in their last group league game. TN lost three games and drew one in the league stage. Satbir Singh (18º), Gaganpreet Singh (42º) and Paravinder Singh (45º) scored for PSB while Joshva reduced the margin in the 40th minute.