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Sr National Hockey: Rupinder's brace helps Hockey Punjab reach last four

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Pune, Dec 18 (IANS) Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Rupinder Pal Singh scored a brace of goals as two-time champions Hockey Punjab reached the semi-finals with a hard-fought win in the 11th Hockey India Senior Men National Championship at the Major Dhyanchand Hockey Stadium, Nehrunagar-Pimpri on Saturday.

In the first quarter-final, Punjab left it late to down a gritty Hockey Chandigarh 2-1 with both goals scored by the experienced Rupinder.

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In other matches, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh moved into the last-four stage with gritty wins.

After a goalless first half and the third quarter, Hockey 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.

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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.

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Later, Hockey Bengal and Hockey Karnataka were locked in an intense battle before the South team 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 out 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.

In the third quarter-final, Uttar Pradesh Hockey forced out a 2-1 win over Hockey Haryana. Uttar Pradesh Hockey took the lead through Mohammad Amir Khan (12th) which was cancelled by Haryana’s Mandeep (13th) to make it 1-1.

In the second quarter, Uttar Pradesh scored via Mohd. Sadiq (25th), that turned out to be the match-winner. Uttar Pradesh beat Hockey Haryana who boasted four India Junior World Cuppers.

RESULTS

Hockey Punjab: 2 (Rupinder Pal Singh 46th, 53rd) bt Hockey Chandigarh: 1 (Arshdeep Singh 50th)

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

Uttar Pradesh Hockey: 2 (Mohammad Amir Khan 12th; Mohd. Sadiq 25th) bt Hockey Haryana: 1 (Mandeep 13th)

–IANS

cs/bsk

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