Punjab, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and hosts Maharashtra moved into the semifinals on Saturday, with hard-fought wins in the 11th Hockey India Senior Men National Championship Pimpri Chinchwad 2021 at the Major Dhyanchand Hockey Stadium.
In the first quarterfinal, two-time champions Punjab left it late to down Chandigarh 2-1. Both goals were scored by the experienced Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Rupinder Pal Singh.
After a goalless first half and the third quarter, Punjab broke the deadlock off a powerfully taken penalty corner by Rupinder Pal Singh (46th) that deflected off a defender into the roof of the goal.
Chandigarh levelled scores four minutes later when Arshdeep Singh (50th) deflected the ball into the Punjab goal 1-1.
Three minutes later, Rupinder’s low drag-flick beat Chandigarh goalkeeper Jashandeep Singh with pace, which turned out to be the winner.
Later, Bengal and Karnataka were locked in an intense battle before the latter won 3-2 through a late winner by Ali Ansar A.M (58th) off a penalty corner.
Bengal was first to go 1-0 through Alsem Lakra (9th) which was levelled by Karnataka’s Mohd. Raheel (21st) to make it 1-1.
Harish Mutagar (30th) then put Karnataka ahead for the first time converting a penalty corner, before Bengal pulled level via Abhishek Pratap Singh (40th) off a penalty corner.
Maharashtra took the last quarterfinal slot downing Tamil Nadu with a 2-0 win in the shoot out after playing out a 2-2 draw at the end of full time. The match played under lights saw both Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu create opportunities but the score remained tied.
Against the run of play, hosts Maharashtra went 1-0 through Pratap Shinde (8th) with a successful penalty corner conversion. The goal was his 10th of the tournament, with all of them coming off penalty corners.
Maharashtra keeper Akash Chikte repelled a string of attacks that included reflex action saves from the attempts off Silver Stalin S and a deflection off a stiff reverse flick by Joshua Benedict Wesley.
At the other end, Tamil Nadu survived when Pratap Shinde tapped the ball into the goal beating Tamil Nadu keeper M Arun Prasadh by the narrowest of angles. However, the umpire felt otherwise and denied the goal and awarded a penalty corner instead.
Thereafter, Tamil Nadu gained the upper hand and scored the equaliser through Karthi S (46th) off a penalty corner and then added another two minutes later with a well-worked tap in to make it 2-1.
Maharashtra pushed hard for an equaliser and was rewarded when Taleb Shah (60th) scored to push the game into the ‘shoot out’.
For Maharashtra Darshan Gawkar, Venkatesh Kenche scored twice, while Taleb Shah, Moses Pullanthara missed their attempts. Tamil Nadu could not convert a single attempt from the shoot out.
QF-1: Hockey Punjab: 2 (Rupinder Pal Singh 46th, 53rd) bt Hockey Chandigarh: 1 (Arshdeep Singh 50th)
QF-2: Hockey Karnataka: 3 (Mohd. Raheel 21st, Harish Mutagar 30th, Ali Ansar A.M 58th) bt Hockey Bengal: 2 (Alsem Lakra 9th, Abhishek Pratap Singh 40th). HT: 2-1
QF-3: Uttar Pradesh Hockey: 2 (Mohammad Amir Khan 12th; Mohd. Sadiq 25th) bt Hockey Haryana: 1 (Mandeep 13th). HT: 2-1
QF4: Maharashtra: 2 (2) (Pratap Shinde 8th; Taleb Shah 60th) bt Tamil Nadu: 2 (0) (Karthi S 46th, 48th). HT: 1-0