Bhubaneswar, March 19 (IANS) Rest of India (RoI) put up a dominant second-half show to thump Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) 4-1 in a thrilling exhibition hockey match at the Kalinga Stadium here on Sunday.
Though the result of the match, hosted by PSPB in association with Hockey India (HI), went in favour of RoI, PSPB showcased class as they held their opponents to a stalemate in the first half.
Their defence was tight and they rarely allowed the RoI forwards to foray into the striking circle. However, Roelant Oltmans-coached Rest of India’s breakthrough came in the 34th minute after the master strategist Dutchman made key changes during the halftime break that were perfectly executed by his team. It was Santa Singh who scored a stunning field goal to take a much-needed 1-0 lead.
Talwinder Singh soon doubled the lead with a 41st minute field goal while Ajit Kumar Pandey who was part of the Junior World Cup winning team scored in the 53th minute to take the score to a formidable 3-0.
Though PSPB made a late comeback with a successful penalty corner converted by Harmanpreet Singh, who is now part of the senior men’s core probables for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, in the 56th minute brought some respite to the PSPB.
PSPB boasted of an fine line-up including S.V. Sunil, SK Uthappa, Harjeet Singh, Mandeep Singh, Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh, Devinder Walmiki.
RoI scored almost immediately and showed their dominance with a 57th minute goal by forward Talwinder Singh to win the match.