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Hockey Nationals: It's AI vs Karnataka; Haryana vs Punjab in semis

October 01, 2012 07:30 IST

Defending champions Haryana will face Punjab while hosts Karnataka will lock horns with Air India in the semi-finals of the second Hockey India Senior Men's National Championship in Bangalore.

In the quarterfinals played today, Air India scored a hard-fought 4-2 win over Jharkhand, Haryana overcame a gritty Manipur 4-2, last year's finalists Karnataka beat Tamil Nadu 2-0 and Punjab thrashed Railway Sports Control Board 5-1 respectively to seal their places in the last-four stage of the tournament.

Air India, who led 1-0 at the break, looked far from impressive as they struggled to find their rhythm and should be indebted to goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh who brought off numerous fine saves.

For Air India, Arjun Halappa struck twice while an own goal and a late strike by Shivendra Singh completed their tally. Jharkhand replied through Diwakar Ram and Anil Xaxa.

Halappa put Air India ahead in the 13th minute when he scored off a pass from AB Cheeyanna, but Jharkhand equalized through drag-flick specialist Diwakar Ram in the 37th minute.

With the match evenly poised, Air India took the lead again when Shivendra scored off a pass from Halappa in the 39th minute.

Jharkhand kept their composure and attacked in waves to level the scores again when Xaxa slammed home the rebound after Ajitesh Roy's try came off the post in the 58th minute.

Air India struck again with Halappa flicking home from a 63rd minute penalty corner and three minutes later, Shivendra slammed home from top of the circle to complete the scoreline.

In another quarter-final match, Punjab muscled past RSCB Railway Sports Control Board 5-1.

For Punjab, who led 3-1 at half-time after conceding an early goal, penalty corner specialist Gurjinder Singh again led the scorers' list with two conversions after Gurbaj Singh opened the account in the seventh minute.

Young Akashdeep Singh and Prabhdeep Singh scored the other Punjab goals while for Railways, B Horo struck in the fifth minute.

Earlier in the day in the match between Karnataka and TN, the hosts scored both the goal in the first half through MK Mudappa (29th minute) and PL Thimmanna (32nd).

Mudappa gave Karnataka the lead deflecting home a cross from Pundalik Bellary past TN goalkeeper P R Sreejesh.

Three minutes later, Thimmanna got a touch to a long hit from the centre-line by skipper Vikram Kanth for the second Karnataka goal.

In the second-half, both teams took turns to dominate but the rival goalkeepers -- Sreejesh and Tarun Thammanna -- brought off some good saves to deny a threat to their respective goals.

Neither team was able to convert a couple of penalty corners.

In another quarter-final, Haryana scored twice in each half to beat Manipur 4-2.

Spearheading Haryana's charge was former India forward Bharat Chhikara, who opened the scoring with goals in the third and sixth minutes while Mandeep Antil (43rd) and Didar Singh (44th) netted one apiece from penalty corners after the change of ends.

Manipur, playing in their maiden quarter-final game at this level, however went down fighting as Jayantakumar Meitel (31st, 60th) converted two penalty corner to keep his team in the hunt.

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