Air India coach Dhanraj Pillay blamed lack of mental preparation for the team's 0-6 defeat to Indian Oil in the final of the Mumbai Hockey Association Limited (MHAL) Super Division League at MHAL-Mahindra Stadium, Churchgate yesterday.
Air India's Arjun Halappa (left) and Indian Oil's Nitin Kumar vie for the ball during the MHAL Super Division League final at MHA Stadium yesterday. Pic/Suresh KK
Indian Oil's Vikas Sharma opened the scoring in the 34th second of the game via a field goal. In the 23rd minute, Prabhjot Singh doubled to the tally. The floodgates opened in the second half as the oilmen netted thrice in nine minutes with Singh (39th minute), Bharat Chikara (40th), Deepak Thakur (44th) all scoring. One minute before full time, Roshan Minz added to Air India's misery with a field goal.
"It is not that Air India cannot beat Indian Oil. I wanted the boys to follow the strategy that I made. But a goal in the first minute cost us the match. Both teams are equally placed and my boys could have come back in the second half, but we missed seven to eight penalty corners.
"Probably, the boys were not mentally prepared to play against the fancied Indian Oil side," said Pillay, a four-time Olympian.