Karnataka rout Himachal
Favourites Air India and Tamil Nadu seal quarterfinal berth
Karnataka weren’t at their fluent best on Tuesday in their opening encounter of the Senior National men’s hockey championship here but the hosts still carried enough ammunition to thump Himachal Pradesh 5-0 at the KSHA stadium.
A sparkling display from Nitin Thimmaiah enabled Karnataka to garner three points in Pool B, ably aided by SK Uthappa, who put the hosts infront as early as in the fourth minute. Nitin (34th) and drag-flicker VR Raghunath (40th) converted penalty corners while Mohan Muthanna (56th) and MB Aiyappa (62nd) came up with field goals each.
Though Karnataka opened their account early in the match, Uthappa slotting home a Pundlik Bellary pass, the hosts had to counter stiff resistance from Himachal Pradesh for the next half-an-hour. Karnataka failed to forge descend partnership in the midfield while their opponents defended stoutly. In between, Nitin twice had his reverse hits saved by Himachal Pradesh custodian Munish Kumar. Then it was Nitin who made it 2-0 by breaking the tight Himachal defence. The tall forward latched on to a loose ball after skipper Raghunath’s penalty corner strike was ricocheted off Munish.
After the break, Raghunath, who hit three short-corners off target, dragged the ball to the top left corner in the 40th. Four minutes later, Karnataka goalkeeper Jagdeep Dayal, who replaced Tarun Thammanna at half-time, thwarted Lakhvir Singh in one of the best chances for the visitors in the whole match.
Towards the end of the tie, Karnataka found some sort of rhythm. Well worked goals from Muthanna, who tapped in a Nikin Thimmaiah cross from the left, and Aiyappa, who placed a long ball from Muthanna, were credit to their passing game. Karnataka will face Mizoram on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Air India stormed into the quaterfinals after thrashing Nagaland 16-0 for their third straight win of Pool E.
Tamil Nadu too advanced to the last-eight stage after topping Pool G.
Results: Pool A: Maharashtra: 3 (Narad Bahdur 22nd, 65th, Vijay Thapa 50th) bt Bengal: 1 (Adesh Balmiki 62nd); Haryana: 3 (Harpreet Singh 21 PC, Karamjit Singh 27th, Naveen Antil 50th) bt Puducherry: 1 (Kamalakannan 23rd). Pool B: Karnataka: 5 (SK Uthappa 4th, Nitin Thimmaiah 34th, VR Raghunath 40th, Mohan Muthanna 56th, MB Aiyappa 62nd) bt Himachal Pradesh: 0. Pool B: Andhra Pradesh: 5 (Ajay Babu 24th PC, Krishna Kishore V 45th, 70th, Ramesh Krishna S 50th, 68th) bt Delhi: 2 (Pawan Singh 23rd, Avtar Singh 61st).
Pool C: Services: 16: Sanwar Ali (10th, 38th, Arumugam 8th, 20th, 37th, 54th, Sairaj Alira 12th, 64th, 32nd PC, 62nd PC, Lovepreet Singh 26th, 51st, Sunil Somwarpet 27th, 53rd, Sukhdev Singh 48th, Muthanna Pradhan 66th) bt Chhattisgarh: 0. Pool D: Uttarakhand: 3 (Manoj Singh Rawat 12th, 32nd, Kailash Singh Jalal 39th PS); Chandigarh: 5 (Lakwinder Singh 19th PC, Love Deep 33rd PS, Shahnawaz Alam 41st, Raminder Singh 52nd PC, Harman Preet Singh 55th) bt Sashastra Seema Bal: 1 (Joychandra Singh 56th). Pool E: Madhya Pradesh: 11 (Arman Qureshi 14th, 52nd, 65th, Amit Kumar Singh 20th PC, Vikas Choudhary 21st, 26th, 46th, 56th, Shakir Hissain 50th PC, Irshad Iqbal 59th, Nizamuddin Mohammed 24th) bt Rajasthan: 0; Air India: 16 (Naveen Sagwan 3rd, 10th, 13th, Vikas Pillay 7th, Sommanna Pradhan 9th, 62nd 68th, Sandeep Singh 15th, 22nd, Birendra Lakra 28th, 41st, Vikram Pillay 36th, 37th, 57th, 69th, Vinod Pillay 65th) bt Nagaland: 0. Pool G: Tamil Nadu: 16 (Ashok Kumar 11th PC, Rupinder Pal Singh 21st PC, 30th PC, 42nd PC, 46th PC, 62nd PC, V Raja 25th, Vinod Rayer 29th, 55th, 65th, Gunasekar 33rd, 67th, Sivamani 45th, Manoj 51st, Damu 58th, 63rd) bt Kerala: 1 (Sarin E 57th); Odisha: 20 (Amit Rohit Das 1st PC, 9th PC, 30th PC, 42nd PC, 48th PC, Amit Rohit Das 57th, Sunil Toppo 5th, 49th, 50th, 69th, Bipin Kerketta 6th, 29th, Dilip Toppo 15th PC, 32nd PC, 40th PC, Ignacius Toppo 24th, 29th, 68th, Mikhal Barla 6th PC, Amon Mirash Tirkey 66th PC) bt Gujarat: 0.
Matches today: At KSHA stadium: Haryana vs Maharashtra (8.30am); Delhi vs Himachal Pradesh (10.00am); Karnataka vs Mizoram (2.30pm); Jammu & Kashmir vs Services (4.00pm). At MEG grounds: Goa vs Sashastra Seema Bal (7.00am); Manipur vs Andaman & Nicobar (8.30am); Bihar vs Combined University (10.00am); Assam vs UP (11.30am); Puducherry vs Bhopal (1.00pm); Railways vs Tripura (2.30pm); Jharkhand vs Chandigarh (4.00pm).