Captain Nikkin Thimmaiah led from the front as home team Hockey Karnataka registered their maiden win by beating Indian Air Force, Delhi 2-1 here at the ongoing Dolo-650 Bangalore Cup All India Hockey Tournament (Men) on Monday. With another match to be played in Pool B against Army XI on Wednesday, Hockey Karnataka have strengthened their position in the pool B table with 4 points following a draw and a win in the tournament so far. In the another Pool A match, Indian Navy inched closer to the semi final berth with a formidable 4-1 win against All India Customs 4-1.
Dominating the first quarter, Hockey Karnataka used pace and aggression to create circle entries. Striker Nikkin Thimmaiah led the charge as he scored a sensational field goal, an effort that saw him skillfully dribble past Indian Air Force defenders into the striking circle and take a powerful shot on goal. The 1-0 lead was doubled in the second quarter when talented forward Somaiah KP struck a field goal in the 16th minute.
The 2-0 lead put pressure on the Indian Air Force team who looked for an opening to score but the defenders from Hockey Karnataka held their sway and put up a disciplined defence that ensured the home team stayed in lead. Though there were plenty of opportunities for them to extend the lead in the following minutes, Hockey Karnataka forwards missed several open chances that restricted their scoreline to 2-0.
A lone goal by Indian Air Force in the 58th minute by Anand Lakra did create tense moments for the home side but they sailed through with cautious play till the final hooter. In the second match of the day, Indian Navy secured a brilliant 4-1 win against All India Customs. After Indian Navy scored the first goal in the 13th minute through Sunny Malik, Hassan Basha scored an equaliser for All India Customs in the 26th minute.
The two teams were evenly poised at 1-1 stalemate till the final quarter where Indian Navy created as many as four PCs and were awarded a penalty stroke that changed the course of the game. Dragflicker Jugraj Singh made full use of the opportunities as he scored a double in the 47th and 55th minute while Palangappa IE converted the penalty stroke in the 56th minute to ensure their team stays in contention for a semifinal spot.