National Hockey Championship: Punjab lift title - The New Indian Express

National Hockey Championship: Punjab lift title

Published: 03rd October 2012 08:28 AM

Last Updated: 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.

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