LUCKNOW, March 16 (IANS): Hosts Uttar Pradesh and Railways proved their mettle to enter the semifinals of the National Hockey Championship (Division A) here Sunday.
Uttar Pradesh recorded their fourth consecutive win defeating Bhopal 6-1 in Pool C. Diwakar Ram's goal scoring spree started in the fifth minute followed by his second (18th minute). He ended by scoring the last goal of the match (63rd). Bhopal's Nadeemuddin managed to sneak in a goal (51st).
In Pool A, Air India dominated and registered a 3-0 win over Chandigarh. A successful penalty corner conversion by captain Probodh Tirkey (30th) gave Air India the edge. Armaan Qureshi (60th) and Vinod Vishnu (62nd) took it further ahead by scoring a field goal each.
In another Pool C match, Karnataka defeated Jharkhand 7-2. With no goals in the first half, the tables turned in favour of Karnataka in the second half. Karnataka's Pradhan Somana P. was the only player to stroke in two goals (42nd, 58th) and Biju B.Y. (41st), captain Mudappa M.K. (43rd) among others scored one each.
Jharkhand showed some life towards the end when Chandan Aind (63rd) and Prakash Kerketta (68th) sneaked one each but the comeback timing was a bit too late.
Haryana drew a Pool D match 2-2 with and Railways. Railways took a 1-0 lead through Belsajar Horo (14th) but Haryana's Shivdeep (38th) and Damandeep (46th) stroked in one each to take the lead. However, Vinod Kumar Singh of Railways equalised (56th) to carve his team's way to the semis.
In Pool B, Comptroller & Auditor General Of India (CAG) thrashed Manipur 8-1. Deepanshu Bhargav, Siddharth Shanker and captain Mahendra Kumawat scored three for CAG in the first half.
The second half saw another goal from Kumawat (37th) and another two goals by Shanker (47th, 52nd). Manipur captain Jayenta Meitei managed to put in one (45th).
In the last match of the day, Sports Authority of India (SAI) beat 2-1 with Madhya Pradesh. At halftime the score was tied at 1-1. It could have been anyone's game in the second half but both teams failed to convert their chances. But Manish Bishnoi's (52nd) goal gave SAI the win.
Pool C: Uttar Pradesh 6 beat Bhopal 1; Karnataka 7 beat Jharkhand 2
Pool A: Air India 3 beat Chandigarh 0
Pool D: Haryana 2 drew Railways 2
Pool B: CAG 8 beat Manipur 1; SAI 2 beat Madhya Pradesh 1