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Border Security Force lifts Beighton Cup

Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: Border Security Force (BSF), Jalandhar, lifted the Indian Oil all-India Beighton Cup hockey tournament for the sixth time, edging out Army XI by the odd goal in three at the CC & FC ground here on Wednesday.

BSF stopped Army XI for the second time in recent years from winning the world's oldest hockey tournament. BSF had beaten Army XI in the 1998 final too. For Army XI, which progressed to the summit round with convincing victories this year, the seventh final did not produce the desired result despite dominating the entire game.

In eight finals, BSF had finished the runner-up only twice as against three titles and four second-place finish of Army XI.

The pre-match favourite, Army XI, thoroughly dominated the proceedings but failed to add finishing touches to a number of goal-bearing moves initiated by its international and captain Ignace Tirkey. The Armymen were found wanting owing to lack of imagination inside the striking circle of the opponent. For BSF, under pressure, the only option was to launch into counterattacks and it did a commendable job. Skipper Habil Topno and Marianus Lakra played an active role on the left wing, while the best player of the match, Harpinder Singh, marshalled the defence with aplomb.

Army XI's lack of sharpness in upfront play was in stark contrast to BSF's forward play. It was incisive and imaginative. After raiding the rival territory with consummate ease, Army XI did manage to go ahead in the 40th minute through Dhanajay Mahadik.

Four minutes later BSF equalised through a Harpinder Singh's field goal and the lead was consolidated in the 53rd minute through Marianus Lakra.

The Armymen failed to produce the equaliser to take the game into tie-breaker and sudden-death thereafter.

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