Karnataka blitz Mizoram
Mudappa strikes seven to help hosts post 21-0 win over minnows
Although not playing in top gear and missing a dozen opportunities, the hosts were just too good for Mizoram, burying the minnows under a mountain of goals and using the match as a fine warm-up game for the remaining two pool encounters where victory should be nothing more than a formality.
Medio MK Mudappa led the goal fest with seven strikes, striker Mohan Muthanna hammered in five, India forward SK Uthappa slotted in three, Somanna KM a brace while PL Thimmanna, MB Aiyappa and Nikin Thimmaiah joined the party with a goal each. While the first goal was an own goal conceded by Mizoram custodian K Laldintluanga.
Mizoram, who surprisingly made four forays into the Karnataka circle in the embarrassingly lop-sided contest, had their fate sealed as early as in the third minute when Laldintluanga conceded an own goal. Attempting to clear a cross from Aiyappa, he made a mess of the regulation clearance only to see the ball deflect off his pads into the goal as Karnataka opened their account.
Within a minute it became 2-0 when Uthappa prodded home from a goal-mouth melee after which it was just one-way traffic. Karnataka kept attacking at will while Mizoram, who showed some defensive grit early on when they kept the misfiring hosts at bay, just kept going through the motions in desperate search of some breathing space.
Although Karnataka overshot their pre-match target of 15 goals, concerns do exist for the last year’s losing finalists. Captain and India drag-flicker VR Raghunath once again endured a miserable day, missing all of his nine attempts. The player-of-the-tournament for joint champions Indian Oil Corporation in the just concluded Muruguppa Cup in Chennai, Raghunath kept firing the ball either high or wide and his goal-bound shots were tackled well by Laldintluanga.
A key cog in their plan to go all the way this time, Karnataka would seriously hope their star penalty-corner specialists finds his range in the remaining two pool matches before the bigger battles start at the turn of the week.
Results: Pool A: Haryana: 2 (Bharat Chikara 17th, Sardar Singh 28th) bt Maharashtra: 2 (Narad Bahadur 25th, Irshad Mirza 48th); Hockey Bhopal: 6 (Irfan 7th, Faisal Hassan 32nd, 42nd, Affan Yousuf 46th, 56th, Imran Yousuf 61st) bt Puducherry: 2 (Kartikeyan 5th, Harikrishnan 69th).
Pool B: Karnataka: 21 (K Laldintluanga 3rd OG, SK Uthappa 4th, 51st, 53rd, Mohan Muthana 21st, 28th, 54th, 61st, 64th, MK Mudappa 25th, 30th, 39th, 49th, 56th, 59th, 63rd, Somana KM 33rd, 66th, PL Thimmanna 39th, MB Aiyappa 60th, Nikin Thimmaiah 65th) bt Mizoram: 0; Delhi: 5 (Avtar Singh Mann 4th, Pawan Singh Chouhan 31st, 49th, Abhishek 33rd, Mohit 43rd) bt Himachal Pradesh: 3 (Rajesh Kumar 25th, Sarbjit Singh 55th, Balram Kumar 65th).
Pool C: Services: 18 (Sanwar Ali 4th, 8th, 39th, Arumugam 7th, Muthana Pradhan 14th, 16th, 63rd, Lovepreet Singh 25th, 30th, 40th, SV Sunil 26th, 42nd, Barhat Singh 31st, 35th, 59th, Sairajlira 45th,
52nd, 62nd) bt Jammu & Kashmir: 0.
Pool D: Sashastra Seema Bal: 14 (Kishore Lakra 4th, 20th, 15th, 27th, Ajit Singh 14th, 51st, Joychandra Singh 23rd, Pradeep Kumar Singh 35th, 53rd, 69th, Surchandra Singh 39th, L Suresh Singh 41st, Noacha Singh 42nd, Romi Kumar Singh 44th) bt Goa: 0; Jharkhand: 2 (Anil Xaxa 29th, Birendra Lakra 43rd) bt Chandigarh: 1 (Harmenpreet Singh 22nd).
Pool F: Uttar Pradesh: 9 (Jayakaran 11th, Chauhan Singh 15th, Mohd Air Khan 23rd, 67th, Chauhan Singh 28th, Tushar Khandkar 51st, Kamalesh Rai 52nd, Imran Khan 54th, 63rd) bt Assam: 1 (Pasumatary Pankaj 70th); Railways: 21 (Sanjay Bir Singh 4th, 34th, 44th, 51st, 52nd, 54th, 56th, 59th, Innocent Kullu 15th, 30th, 40th, B Horo 19th, Lipto Singh 36th, 57th, Sunil Kumar 39th, 61st, 66th, Malak Singh 55th, Vivek Dhar 60th, Chen 17th, 29th) bt Tripura: 0.
Pool H: Manipur: 16 (Jayant Kumar 1st, 2nd, 45th, 60th, Romen Singh 7th, 68th, Hera Singh 10th, Chittranjan Singh 20th, 61st, 69th, Ganbama 25th, 33rd, Amarjit Singh 37th, Kiran Kumar Singh 44th, Abung Singh 54th, Dayanananda Singh 58th) bt Andaman & Nicobar: 0; Bihar: 1 (Mohammed Riazuddin 27th) drew Combined University: 1 (Gurpreet Singh 67th).