Punjab too good for Karnataka

Prolific striker Sunny Singh scored twice, including the fastest goal of the tournament, while Tarun Taneja found the net once as the three-time champions trounced the hosts at the M Visvesvaraya stadium.

Holders Jharkhand got off to superb start in the quarterfinal league stage when Alween’s first-half hat-trick gave them a convincing 3-0 victory over Tamil Nadu in another Group A tie.

Karnataka, who also like Punjab have lifted the trophy three times, were put on the back foot within a minute of the kick-off when Sunny broke the ice. Taneja then connected Achanak’s cross from 30 yards in the 14th minute to hand a Punjab 2-0 lead, leaving Karnataka needing to mount a stirring fightback.

Although they failed to pierce the Punjab defence, Karnataka guarded their fort for the better part of the second half, until Sunny struck again in the 81st minute. The striker slotted home his second goal to put the issue beyond the home team’s reach. Sridhara restored a semblance of pride for Karnataka with a goal three minutes later.
Alween heroics mid way from the first half put Jharkhand firmly in the drivers’s seat by interval. Alween slotted home the opener in the 26th minute and added another eight minutes later before wrapping up his hat-trick in the 44th minute.

Meanwhile, Karnataka’s assistant coach Saravanan said early goals let the down and failure to penetrate cost them the match. “Defensive errors in the early part cost us dearly. recovering from 0-2 down within the first 15 minutes is not easy. However we showed recovery but we were guilty of too many long balls.”


Results (quarterfinal league): Group A: Jharkhand: 3 (Alween 26th, 34th, 44th) bt Tamil Nadu: 0.
Group B: Punjab: 3 (Sunny Singh 1st, 81st, Tarun Taneja 14th) bt Karnataka: 1 (Sridhara 84th).

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