Karnataka fail to put UP away

Hockey Senior Nationals: Hosts squander two-goal advantage to be held 3-3

Karnataka fail to put UP away

Karnataka once again failed to capitalise on their advantage as they were held 3-3 by Uttar Pradesh in the 64th IHF Senior National hockey championship for the Rangaswamy Cup at the KSHA Stadium here on Thursday.

Karnataka, who were held to a 2-2 draw after defending champions Mumbai clawed their way back into the game in the second half on Wednesday, slacked off late in the game once again.

The hosts went ahead as Bijju Yirkal converted a penalty corner in the 17th-minute but UP proved they were no pushovers as they equalised through Imran Khan six minutes later.

With the score tied at one apiece, Karnataka stepped up the pressure and there was little UP could do as Bijju sounded the board in the 32nd minute to put the hosts ahead again.

Despite fighting hard, UP were well and truly on the backfoot when Karnataka skipper Deepak Bijawad, who had scored a brace in Wednesday’s stalemate, scored off a penalty stroke to extend his team’s advantage in the 46th minute.

Not taking it lying down, UP staged a brilliant fightback in the second half, led by Diwakar Ram. The former international worked tirelessly and created many openings but UP didn’t seem to have any luck scoring. Diwakar was, however, not to be denied for long as he struck two goals in the 54th and 58th minutes to complete a brilliant UP comeback.
Karnataka had a fine opportunity to notch up their first win in two matches but Kusha failed to slot in Bijju’s cross in the dying minutes.

In another match, former champions Punjab were relentless in their attack and slotted three past Mumbai, courtesy a brace from Ranjit Singh (4th and 69th). Mumbai from their end responded with a goal through Jayanta Meiti in the 36th minute.

Results: Karnataka: 3 (Biju 17th, 32nd, Deepak Bejiwad 46th) drew with Uttar Pradesh: 3 (Imran Khan 23rd, Diwakar Ram 54th, 58th); Punjab: 3 (Ranjit Singh 4th, 69th, Gurjeet Singh 24th) bt Mumbai: 1 (Jayanta Metei 36th).
Friday’s schedule: Jharkhand vs Manipur (4.30 pm).

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