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Karnataka rout Himachal
Bangalore: Sept 25, 2012 DH News Service 22:45 IST
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.
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).