On 6 August 2017, just few days before the 70th Independence Day, ONGC hockey team won the title of 2017 by beating Bangalore hockey Team (combined with Indian Oil & Air India players) in a 4-2 thrilling match at the jam packed Mayor Radha Krishnan Stadium, Chennai.
ONGC had reached the final of 91st MCC Gold Cup after throwing Indian Railways off track by beating 5-3 in Semifinal. A seasoned ONGC put all its experience to fruitful effect by subduing Bangalore Hockey Team 4-2 in the Final. Both teams played their hearts out in an entertaining contest. The major reason for ONGC’s triumph was its excellent defensive organization. Most of its counter-attacks were measured and during turnovers, the defence seldom allowed any of Bangalore’s forwards any leeway. This was especially so in the second half.
Earlier, it took all of 3 minutes for ONGC to go 1-0 ahead with Diwakar Ram scoring from the penalty corner. The manner of the goal came as no surprise considering the fact that Diwakar’s prowess from penalty corners to our advantage right through the tournament. ONGC’s lead lasted just two minutes though. Seemingly out of nothing, Bangalore’s forward struck the equalizer with fierce shot from the right hand side that took all the ONGCians by surprise.
Bangalore got the lead in 18th minute through another field goal. As the game progressed, however, ONGC went from strength to strength. ONGC made it 2-2 in the 28th minute through Mandeep, who got on the end of a deflection from another penalty corner.
For every ONGC attack, Bangalore reacted equally well. No wonder at half time, the teams shared four goals. Coming back after the break, ONGC changed its tactics. On counters, it did not go all out as it strengthen its defence and the ploy worked.
ONGC’s all-important third goal came from Machaiah in the 52nd minute with Sumit Kumar providing the assist. Junior International, Sumit Kumar ran in from right, dodging past two defenders to close in on the goal. But nearing the post he passed it to Machaiah, who moved lightning quick to slot it home (score was 3-2). The Bangalore players did push hard to get back into the contest, but were unable to produce a decisive piece of play that would have an impact on the gameas ONGC’s defence was up to the task.
It was ONGC who took advantage of the open spaces at the back in 70th (last minute) minute of the game and made it 4-2 to steal the title. Machaiah has been in fine form and his brace in the final was a fitting reward for a wonderful and opportunistic player.
PA Machaiah & Diwakar Ram got the best forward & defender’s award respectively along with racing bycycles.
Under the guidance of Sandeep Sangwan, former Indian Men Coach, ONGC was having greater ball possession throughout the game and kept attacking the goal on Bangalore and won the prestigious title with flying colors. Former senior goalkeeper Munish Kumar was also a big help & booster to guide goalkeepers of ONGC.
Congrats to former International Game Coordinator Anurag Raghuvanshi for lifting this title and to ONGC hockey team for this stupendous performance in the beginning of the session in 2017.