Pune: Gangpur, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh joined Air India and Railways into the semifinals after scoring contrasting results on the final day of league matches, in the 5th Hockey India Senior Men’s National Hockey championship for ‘A’ Division at the Balewadi Hockey Ground here on Friday.
Gangpur will take on Uttar Pradesh in the second semifinal, while Air India meets Railways in the first semifinal on Sunday. Saturday is a rest day.
After two days of remarkable hockey by Maharashtra, it was a day of misfortune as the host team failed to match the strength and agility of Uttar Pradesh in the last Pool C league match.
Maharashtra with 7 points and Uttar Pradesh with 6 points needed a simple win to book the semifinal berth. While Maharashtra was in a better position point-wise as they hadn’t lost a match.
For Uttar Pradesh though, after losing to Haryana, they were on a sticky wicket, but the equation at hand was simple and achievable. Uttar Pradesh were on 6 points and plus-6 goal difference, while Haryana was on 9 points and plus-6 goal difference. That meant a simple 1-0 win for UP would see them through.
Danish Mujtaba opened the scoring in the 14th minute through penalty corner after testing Maharashtra attack for a while. There were exchanges mostly in the Mahrashtra’s side, but the home team did well to thwart any more goals past their defensive line.
Uttar Pradesh also seemed happy with the solitary goal lead but in the fourth quarter Saurabh Singh suddenly sprung into action and fired back-to-back goals in the 52nd and 53rd minutes to seal the issue for Uttar Pradesh.
In another Pool C match, Services team finally scored full points after beating Tamil Nadu 4-2. Binay Bhengra scored three goals, two in the first half and one in the other to emerge as the ‘player-of-the-match’
Gangpur, Odisha draw CAG of India
Gangpur needed just one point from their last league encounter and their opponents, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, allowed only as much.
The CAG of India, the runners-up of the last edition, were not signing off just like that. They fought well till the end and matched Gangpur for every move.
It was Roshan Minz who put Ganpur ahead in the 12th minute through a field effort and CAG of India equalized through Deepanshu Bhargav in the 21st minute. Minz struck soon after the resumption through yet another field goal, but DS Darshan (35th minute) equalized through penalty corner to make the things even yet again.
Sanjay Xalxo put Gangpur ahead in the 53rd minute, but five minutes later Nitin Timmaiah made it 3-3 in the 58th minute.
In another Pool B match, Bhopal scored their first win when they beat Indian Universities 6-3. Four goals from ‘player of the match’ Osaf-ur-Rahman completely tormented Universities’ game plan. Osaf scored in the 19th, 24th, 29th and 37th minutes before M Taj Khan and Aftab joined the party. For Universities, Captain Singh (8th) and Jatin Singh (13th and 55th) were the scorers.
Punjab wins; Mumbai draws
In the two inconsequential Pool D matches, Punjab defeated Karnataka 3-2, while Mumbai drew with the Food Corporation of India 1-1. Railways had already qualified on Thursday from this pool making Friday’s league matches academic.
Bhopal 6 (Osaf-ur-Rahman 19th, 24th, 29th, 37th, M Taj Khan 48th, Aftab Khan 59th) beat Indian Universities 3 (Captain Singh 8th, Jatin Singh 13th, 55th). HT: 3-2.
Gangpur, Odisha 3 (Roshan Minz 12th, 34th, Sanjay Xalxo 53rd) drew with Comptroller and Auditor General of India 3 (Deepanshu Bhargav 21st, DS Darshan 35th, Nitin Timmaiah 58th). HT: 1-1
Services 4 (Binay Bhengra 9th, 17th, 51st, Jaspreet Singh 60th) beat Tamil Nadu 2 (V Shanmugam 21st, M Vinod Rayar 58th). HT: 2-1.
Uttar Pradesh 3 (Danish Mujtaba 14th ,Saurabh Singh 52nd, 53rd) beat Maharashtra 0. HT: 1-0.
Mumbai 1 (Amit Goswami 18th) drew with Food Corporation of India 1 (Munish Rana 19th). HT: 1-1.
Punjab 3 (Jaskaran Singh 18th, Jagmeet Singh 30th, Prabhdeep Singh 36th) beat Karnataka 2 (Pradhan Somanna 29th, Kusha JP 44th). HT: 2-1.
Sunday’s fixtures at National ‘A’ Hockey championship:
SF1: Air India v Railways (1.30 pm)
SF2: Gangpur, Odisha v Uttar Pradesh (3.30 pm)
Saturday is a Rest Day
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