Karnataka outclass Delhi

Karnataka had another easy day in the office, sweeping aside a listless Delhi with minimum of fuss in their third Pool B encounter of the Senior National hockey championship here on Friday.

Almost every member of the team had their name on the scoring sheet as the hosts took a while to find their range before settling down into a fine rhythm to rip apart Delhi 9-0 at the KSHA stadium.

In their final pool encounter on Saturday, Karnataka (nine points) lock horns with Andhra Pradesh, who crushed Mizoram 15-3 to be on nine points as well. Owing to their superior goal difference, the hosts just need a draw to set-up a quarterfinal date with Tamil Nadu on Sunday.

Despite knowing that Delhi weren’t good enough to trouble them, Karnataka hardly appeared complacent, going all out in the morning clash. While they attacked relentlessly, setting up chance after chance, their finishing was very ordinary, missing at least seven goals -- three from point blank -- in the opening 20 minutes.

Just when they appeared to get a little jittery with the repeated failures upfront, Pundalik Bellary calmed the hosts’ nerves with a fine deflection in the 24th minute that opened the floodgates. The goal seemed to add a spring to Karnataka’s strides as they attacked with better purpose, showing maturity, calmness and good presence of mind inside the circle to bury Delhi under a barrage of goals.

Drag-flick specialist and captain VR Raghunath doubled the lead in the 27th minute while a rare goal from seasoned campaigner Vikram Kanth (32nd) and MK Mudappa’s fine finish off Somanna KM’s brilliant dummy on the stroke of halftime gave Karnataka a handy 4-0 cushion.

The script bore no change upon resumption with Karnataka enjoying the bulk of the possession and Delhi chasing shadows in desperate hope of some respite that never came. Such was Karnataka’s dominance that Delhi hardly breached their citadel, hardly giving any trouble to goalkeeper Tarun Thammanna and the defenders.

Shankar Patil opened Karnataka’s second half account, applying finishing touches to Somanna’s brilliant solo run and pass in the 44th minute before PL Thimmanna struck from the third penalty corner in the 49th minute to make it 6-0. S K Uthappa (50th), Nikin Thimmaiah (52nd) and Nitin Thimmaiah (63rd) then wrapped up the comfortable win.

Railways in quarters

Indian Railways and Manipur stormed into the quarterfinals following hard-fought victories at the MEG grounds. Railways defeated Uttar Pradesh 3-1, while Manipur, pushed hard by a gritty Combined Universities side, eventually held their nerve to seal a 4-3 win.

Results: Pool A: Bhopal: 2 (Irfan Ali 45th, Merajuddin 66th) bt Bengal 0.
Pool B: Karnataka: 9 (Pundalik Bellary 24th, VR Raghunath 27th, Vikram Kanth 32nd, MK Mudappa 35th, Shanker Patil 44th, PL Thimmanna 49th, SK Uthappa 50th, Nikin Thimmaiah 52nd, Nitin Thimmaiah 63rd) bt Delhi 0. Andhra Pradesh: 15 (Kishore Krishna 1st, 20th, 27th, Ajay Babu 8th, 38th, 39th, 69th, Ramesh Krishna 12th, 18th, 50th, Sandeep Raju 28th, 51st, 45th, Avinash Chindrapu 34th, 41st) bt Mizoram: 3 (Lalthakima 58th, Lalduhawma 60th, Lalrinngheta 61st).

Pool D: Jharkhand: 15 (Diwakar Ram 20th, 37th, 39th, 49th, 55th, 60th, 67th, Ajitesh Roy 31st, 52nd, Wilson Minz 7th, Anil Xaxa 10th, Banmali Xess 25th, Birendra Lakra 29th, Shashi Topno 32nd, John Minz 69th) bt Goa 0; Sashatra Seema Bal: 5 (S Romikumar Singh 20th, 44th, L Joychandra Singh 10th, Santikumar Sharma 32nd, H Surchandra Singh 48th) bt Uttarakhand: 1 (Prakash Singh Mehra 65th).

Pool F: Indian Railways: 3 (Sanjay Bir Singh 15th, 34th, Victo Singh 42nd) bt Uttar Pradesh: 1 (Chandan Singh 22nd); Assam: 6 (Magalinga Swami 11th, Ratan Mutana 16th, Rajesh Boro 25th, 50th, KD Cariappa 34th, OG 40th) bt Tripura: 0.

Pool H: Manipur: 4 (Jayantakumar Meitel 17th, 55th, Gangamba 19th, 36th) bt Combined University: 3 (Barkat Singh 25th, 42nd, Hansraj 32nd); Bihar: 6 (Riazuddin 14th, 46th, Niraj Tigga 35th, 50th, Gabriel Herenj 37th, Anup Topno 53rd) bt Andaman & Nicobar: 0.

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