Bijawad spurs Karnataka

Bijawad spurs Karnataka

Skipper's brace catapults State to top of the table with eight points

Bijawad spurs Karnataka

Deepak Bijawad continued his prolific run, scoring a brace to power Karnataka to a 3-1 victory over Jharkhand and propel the hosts atop the points table in the 64th IHF National hockey championship for the Rangaswamy Cup at the KSHA stadium on Monday. 

The Karnataka skipper sounded the board in the 21st and 40th minutes while Rajesh NS struck the other goal in the 36th minute.

Deepak Soreng (30th) was the lone goalscorer for the Jharkhand outfit, who were done in by the hosts’ impressive forwardline.

Karnataka occupy the leaders’ position with eight points from four matches ahead of Mumbai, who have seven points from four matches. Punjab are on six from three while Jharkhand stay on three points from as many matches. 

Karnataka controlled the game from the early stages with the trio of Bijawad, Bijju Yirkal and Mohammad Naeemuddin testing the Jharkhand defence.

Bijawad opened the account for the home team in his inimitable style, flicking the ball high and away past Jharkhand custodian Ritesh Dung Dung off a penalty corner taken by Naeemuddin in the 21st minute.

Jharkhand got their act together equalising in the 30th minute with Soreng cracking a well-placed shot past Karnataka custodian Mahan Gowda for the equaliser. 

 A minute into the second session, Rajesh improvised with a neat scoop beating Dung Dung as Karnataka sneaked ahead 2-1.

Bijawad showed his drag-flicking prowess again with another short corner conversion in the 40th minute as the Ramesh Parameshwaran-coached side took the driver’s seat. Karnataka play Punjab in their last and all-important match on Tuesday and a win will assure them a place in Thursday’s final while Mumbai play Manipur.

Result: Karnataka: 3 (Deepak Bijawad 21st, 40th, Rajesh NS 36th) bt Jharkhand: 1 (Deepak Soreng 30th).
Tuesday’s matches: UP vs Jharkhand (12.30 pm); Manipur vs Mumbai (2.30 pm); Karnataka vs Punjab (4.30 pm).

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