Mumbai stage fine rally

Mumbai stage fine rally

Champions eke out a gritty draw against Karnataka

Mumbai stage fine rally

Champions Mumbai in the opening match of the 64th IHF Senior National hockey championship for the Rangaswamy Cup at the KSHA stadium here on Wednesday.

Skipper Deepak Bijawad’s (26th, 32nd minutes) penalty corner conversions in the first half put Karnataka on top but goals from Ravi Pareek (55th) and Victo Singh (67th) saved the day for the holders. 

Karnataka were easily the more dominant side in the opening half with the Bijwads -- Deepak and Vinayak -- along with the pacy Bijju Yirkal tormenting the Mumbai defence.

Although Vinayak came close to scoring in the 23rd minute when his hit went wide off the near post, it was Deepak’s low shot off a short corner taken by Mohammad Naeemuddin that fetched Karnataka its first goal in the 26th minute.

Six minutes later Karnataka doubled the lead when Deepak slammed home from a penalty corner.

Mumbai were unimpressive in attack and shaky in defence in the opening half and had it not been for custodian Sudhir Dixit’s creditable performance under the bar the Karnataka scoreline could have been higher.

However, the Rameshan N Pillay-coached side upped the ante in the second half to deny Karnataka full points.

In the 55th minute, Pareek showed good presence of mind, deflecting home Joshua Vessoakar’s long pass to reduce the margin.

With the game drawing close and Karnataka scenting victory, Mumbai struck to share the honours. Captain Victo tapped in a pin-point cross from Laxman Rao as champions pulled off a fine rescue act.

Results: Karnataka: 2 (Deepak Bijawad 26th, 32nd) drew with Mumbai: 2 (Ravi Pareek 55th, Victo Singh 67th).

Thursday’s matches: Mumbai vs Punjab (2.30 pm); Karnataka vs Uttar Pradesh (4.30 pm).

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