National Hockey Championship: Punjab lift title
By S S Shreekumar / ENS | Published: 03rd October 2012 08:28 AM |
Punjab winger Gurbaj Singh raced down the right and hammered in a powerful centre. The ball zoomed past a horde of Air India defenders but Punjab striker and skipper Sarvanjit Singh got a faint touch and it deflected into the cage for the winner on Tuesday.
That was the goal just two minutes into the sudden-death extra time of Hockey India’s 2nd Senior National Hockey Championship final after Punjab and Air India were locked 1-1 at the end of regulation time.
Punjab got that goal almost out of the blue and broke into the ‘bhangra’ dance as Air India looked crestfallen.The teams played at slow pace and were cautious in their approach resulting in two missed penalty corners each in the first half as they made little impression in the first half.
The game came alive after resumption as Punjab forged ahead immediately. Linkman Ravipal Singh scooped the ball on the right.
Akashdeep Singh made a dummy run and then let it alone for Satbir Singh even as he dashed into the striking circle. Satbir squared to him and Akashdeep in turn found Prabhdeep Singh on the left.
The striker made a feeble connection but enough to beat goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh in the Air India goal. Air India restored parity just two minutes later. They forced a penalty corner and Vinaya was bang on target with his swipe.The game was then played at a faster pace but without much of coordination.
Punjab forced no less than four penalty corners in quick succession but frittered them away with poor stopping.
Air India managed some quick counter offensives and all but scored. Sameer Dad failed to finish off a good pass from Joga Singh and then Vikram Pillay banged wide a brilliant pass from Arjun Halappa. They also wasted three short corners.
K’taka finish third
Hosts and runners-up Karnataka defeated holders Haryana 2-1 to take the third spot. Karnataka scored once in each half through MB Aiyappa and skipper VR Raghunath.
While Aiyappa struck in the 24th minute following a goalmouth melee, drag-flicker Raghunath converted a short corner in the 41st minute. Haryana skipper and linkman Sardar Singh was on target with his reverse hit in the 60th minute but that was all that they could do.