Odisha, MP storm into semifinals

Odisha and Madhya Pradesh notched up identical 4-0 victories to storm into the semifinals of the Junior Women’s Hockey National Championship here on Thursday.

While Odisha rode on Sarojini Ekka’s brace to beat Mumbai in Pool D, Madhya Pradesh found four goal scorers in their facile win over Bhopal in Pool B at the Chamundi Vihar grounds.

Following Friday’s rest day, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh will lock horns against each in the last-four battle on Saturday with Haryana taking on Jharkhand in the opening semifinal earlier in the day.

Rakhi Prajapati put MP on course for victory early on itself with a fine strike in the ninth minute. Two goals in space of a minute from the sticks of Priyanka Wankhede (20th) and Suman Devi TH (21st) left Madhya Pradesh placed comfortably 3-0 at half-time.

Knowing a win was in their kitty, MP girls played well within themselves in the second half, looking to conserve their energy for the knock-out clash on Saturday. Much to their liking, Bhopal also didn’t possess any firepower to threaten them and they just played possession hockey until Preeti Dubey sealed a 4-0 triumph a minute from the final hooter.

Results: Pool B: Madhya Pradesh: 4 (Rakhi Prajapati 9th, Priyanka Wankhede 20th, Suman Devi TH 21st, Preeti Dubey 69th) bt Bhopal: 0. Pool D: Punjab: 8 (Ruchi Batta 2nd, Sandeep Kaur 4th, Rajbir Kaur 9th, 13th, 33rd, Parmjit Kaur 22nd, Ranjana 33rd, Rajwinder 41st) bt Bihar: 0; Pool D: Odisha: 4 (Sarojini Ekka 34th, 63rd, Elima Minz 26th, Domnica Kujur 45th) bt Mumbai: 0.Semifinal line-up: Haryana vs Jharkhand; Odisha vs Madhya Pradesh.

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