Hosts Karnataka turned in a fine second-half performance to outclass Andhra Pradesh 5-1 while Jharkhand overwhelmed Sashastra Seema Bal 9-1 to book their berths in the quarterfinals of Hockey India’s senior National men’s hockey championship here Saturday.
Karnataka, leading 2-1 at half-time after a well-fought first session, rammed in three quick goals to subdue Andhra and top Pool B with an unbeaten record while Jharkhand, courtesy four goals by former India star Ajitesh Roy, qualified from Pool D, winning all their matches.
The quarterfinal line-up is: holders Haryana vs Manipur; Punjab vs Indian Railways; Karnataka vs Tamil Nadu; Jharkhand vs Air India.
All the four matches will be played Sunday.
Last year’s runner-up Karnataka started promisingly when skipper and drag-flick ace VR Raghunath converted a 11th minute penalty corner. In the 21st, Vikram Kanth drove home a Raghunath pass to put the hosts 2-0 up.
However, Andhra displayed lot of pluck and hit back in the 23rd when Sampath Kumar converted a penalty stroke that was awarded after Avinash Chindrapu’s goal-bound attempt struck defender Darshan Dayavai on the foot.
While the Karnataka forwards were seen in poor light in the hard-fought first-half, Andhra had fewer openings, but their forays looked as dangerous as those of their rivals.
After the break, the match literally turned on its head as Karnataka pumped in three quick goals through MK Mudappa (43rd), Nitin Thammaiah (48th) and SK Uthappa (51st) to seal the issue as a dispirited Andhra barely got a foot in the proceedings.
Karnataka marked their second-half display with a few flowing moves that tore open the Andhra defence and the home forwards did as they pleased.
Earlier, Jharkhand who needed just a draw to progress in the competition, left nothing to chance as India forward Ajitesh Roy led from the front with a four-goal burst while penalty corner specialist Diwakar Ram converted two from set-piece play while Roshan Minz, Anil Xaxa and Jhon Minz added one apiece to the tally.
The Guwahati-based SSB, playing in their first national-level competition outside the All-India Police Games, showed a lot of spirit early on and even struck in the 19th minute through L Joychandra Singh, but could not sustain the pace against a team that boasted several India players.
Pool B: Karnataka 5 (VR Raghunath; Vikram Kanth; MK Mudappa; Nitin Thimmaiah; SK Uthappa) beat Andhra Pradesh 1 (Sampath Kumar); Himachal Pradesh 18 (Siddharth Shanker 4; Prashant Kalsh 4; Sarbjeet Singh 2; Rockey Lochab 2; Rajesh Kumar; Pawan Bassi; Hatinder Singh; Lakhvir Singh; Amit Lochab; Harpreet Bansal) beat Mizoram 1 (Lalruatfela Zota).
Pool D: Jharkhand 9 (Ajitesh Roy 4; Diwakar Ram 2; Roshan Minz; Anil Xaxa; Jhon Minz) beat Sashstra Seema Bal 1 (L Joychandra Singh); Chandigarh 7 (Shahnawaz Alam 2; Lakhwinder Singh; Raminder Singh; Devender Singh; Lovedeep; Kulbhushan Vashisht) beat Uttarakhand 1 (Maheshwar Singh Negi).