Pune: Fate of two Odisha teams took divergent routes on Wednesday with Gangpur, Odisha putting one step into the semifinals even as Odisha’s faint chances slipped away after Wednesday’s league matches in their respective pools, in the 5th Hockey India Senior Men’s National Hockey championship for ‘A’ Division at the Balewadi Hockey Ground here.
Full back Pratap Lakra scored two goals, one each on the either side of half-time as Gangpur defeated Bhopal 5-2 in a Pool B match. It was third straight win for Gangpur in the 5-team pool that took their points tally to 9 from three matches.
Gangpur plays Comptroller and Auditor General of India in their last league match on Friday. The CAG of India, who have 6 points from three matches will have huge mountain to climb to better Gangpur on goal difference. Not only CAG of India needs to win, they need to beat Gangpur by 5-goal margin.
It was Pratap Lakra who put Gangpur ahead in the fourth minute before Aftab Khan equalized for Bhopal in the 26th minute. Gangpur went into the break on a high when Amardeep Ekka slotted in a goal one minute from the half-time hooter.
Pratap Lakra scored his second in the 42nd minute and Deepak Lakra made it 4-1 a minute later as Gangpur went on the offensive. Mobin-ur-Rahman’s 45th goal hardly made the difference as Gangpur struck through Roshan Minz in the 55th minute to seal the issue.
Jharkhand rally to beat Universities
Jharkhand completed their league outings with a 2-1 win against Indian Universities. However, Jharkhand’s qualification in to the semifinals will depend on what happens in Gangpur versus CAG of India match. Jharkhand, with 9 points, has a goal difference of plus 2, which is way lower than plus-6 of Gangpur, who can qualify even after losing against CAG of India by less than 4-goal margin.
Harsahib Singh had put the Universities team ahead in the 30th minute to give a scare to Jharkhand, but they rallied brilliantly in the second half. Deepak Kujur (36th minute) and Arvind Kujur (54th) scored for Jharkhand.
SAI leaves Odisha out of contention
Odisha’s hopes of giving Air India some uneasiness on the last day of the league encounters evaporated on Wednesday when the Sports Authority of India (SAI) team held Odisha to a 3-3 draw.
Odisha needed a clear win to harbour any chances of giving Air India, who play winless Andhra Pradesh on the morrow, some pressure. But it was not to be even after racing to 3-0 lead before the half time.
Dilip Toppo (15th minute), Irsad Mirza (22nd) and Abhisek Singh (25th) scored for Odisha as planned. ButJagath Nachappa struck one on the 26th minute to reduce the margin going into the half-time.
The SAI team fortified their defence foiling all the attacks that Odisha carried and scored goals through Pawan Kumar (39th) and Basavraj (54th) to equalize.
In other Pool A action, Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy defeated Andhra Pradesh 3-0 thanks to goals from Vikas Choudary, who scored twice and Nikki Kaushal.
MP Hockey Academy has four points from three matches and has one league match left against Odisha.
Odisha 3 (Dilip Toppo 15th, Irsad Mirza 22nd, Abhisek Singh 25th) drew with Sports Authority of India 3 (Jagath Nachappa 26th, Pawan Kumar 39th, Basavraj 54th). HT: 3-1.
Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy 3 (Vikas Choudary20th, 59th, Nikki Kaushal 46th) beat Andhra Pradesh 0. HT: 1-0.
Gangpur, Odisha 5 (Pratap Lakra 4th, 42nd, Amardeep Ekka 29th, Deepak Lakra 43rd, Roshan Minz 55th) beat Bhopal 2 (Aftab Khan 26th, Mobin-ur-Rahman 45th). HT: 2-1.
Jharkhand 2 (Deepak Kujur 36th, Arvind Kujur 54th) beat Indian Universities 1(Harsahib Singh 30th). HT: 0-1.
Thursday’s fixtures at National ‘A’ Hockey championship:
Pool C: Tamil Nadu v Maharashtra (7.30 am)
Pool C: Services v Haryana (9 am)
Pool D: Punjab v Food Corporation of India (10.30 am)
Pool D: Railways v Mumbai (12.30 pm)
Pool A: Odisha v MP Hockey Academy (2 pm)
Pool A: Air India v v Andhra Pradesh (3.30 pm)
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