The ongoing 35th National Games today saw Men Hockey teams playing for the semi-final spot at the New Hockey Stadium, Kollam (Kerala), Jharkhand and Haryana topped their Pools ‘A’ and ‘B’ respectively to set semi finals against Services and Odisha respectively. The semi-finals will be played on 10th February 2015 where all four teams will look at beating the opponent and reaching the Finale of the prestigious 35th National Games.
In Pool ‘A’, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh won two matches each and locked at 4 points each, but on the basis of better goal difference, Jharkhand and Odisha advanced to final four. Haryana were the clear winners in Pool ‘B’ with 5 points from two wins and a draw, followed by Services with 4 points from two wins in three matches. Points table and detailed results of 35th National Games (Men Hockey) are given here:
Taking on each other with full fervor and enthusiasm, the teams displayed mesmerizing hockey for the spectators. In the matches played on final day of league stage, the in-form Odisha registered their second win as they defeated Kerala with a margin of 6-1, Jharkhand overpowered Uttar Pradesh 3-0, in a neck to neck clash SSCB won against Karnataka by 1-0 and Haryana defeated Punjab 2-0.
In the first game of the day, Odisha dominated the entire match, drubbing home team Kerala with a huge score gap of 6-1 to record their second win of the tournament and helping them reach the semi-finals of the 35th National Games. Mohammed Naeem opened the scoring for Odisha through a brilliant field goal in the 20th minute and soon doubled the score in the 23rd minute by converting a penalty corner awarded to Odisha. The end of first half saw Odisha leading 2-0 against Kerala. Second half began with a lot more attacks and strong defence from both the sides as the two teams put in their maximum efforts to score. Rajin Kandulana scored the third goal for Odisha in the 38th minute. Kerala tried to strike back with full strength as Praveen Kumar scored the first goal for his team in the 50th minute. Thereafter Prakash Barla, Mohammed Naeem and Deepanshu Bhargav added three more goals to the tally in the 53rd, 55th and 62ndminute respectively, giving Odisha a huge victory of 6-1 over Kerala.
The second game saw Jharkhand men beating Uttar Pradesh 3-0 which turned out to be a one-sided game and allowing Jharkhand reach the much vied semi-final spot. The first goal of the game came in as early as in the 9th minute when Noel Dodroi scored a field goal for Jharkhand, giving his side an early lead in the game. The two sides made a number of desperate attempts to find the gap in each others’ defense and reach the nets but it was only in the 24th minute that Jharkhand was awarded a penalty stroke. Inocent Kullu took the stroke and faultlessly put the ball in the mesh. The second half was more rigid as both the teams did not allow the opponent side to breach their guard. The last goal for Jharkhand was scored in the concluding minutes of the game as Anil Xaxa scored a field goal in the 68th minute, taking the score to 3-0. The final score stood at 3-0 announcing a triumph for the Jharkhand men over Uttar Pradesh.
It was a tough clash between SSCB and Karnataka, where both the sides were at par with each allowing no breaches in their individual defense as their strikers kept attacking the goal post. Displaying a thrilling and nail-biting game of hockey at the turf today, the two sides played remarkably. After a goal-less first half, Vishwa Thakur of SSCB managed to sneak in a field goal in the 55th minute, handing Karnataka men a defeat of 1-0 and booking t heir berth in the semifinals.
The fourth game of the day saw a hard fought game between Punjab and Haryana where Haryana men blanked Punjab 2-0 to register a win to their name and a place in the semi-finals. An early penalty stroke awarded to Haryana was converted into a perfect goal by Gagandeep Singh in the 5th minute as the ball swiftly passed through the sturdy guard of Punjab goalkeeper to touch the nets. After the initial goal scored, both the sides put in their best game approaches and tricks of the trade to score further goals but to no avail. Haryana scored the second and final goal in the subsequent half of the game through the stick of Naveen Antil in the 41st minute. Despite numerous endeavours by both the sides no further goals were scored as Haryana drubbed Punjab 2-0 to win the match.