Services and Odisha are set to play the men’s final, while Haryana and Punjab playing in Women’s final of hockey at 35th National Games has reached its business end at New Hockey Stadium, Kollam, Kerala.
In two exhilarating semi final games of men’s hockey, Jharkhand took on SSCB in the first match whilst Odisha clashed with Haryana in the next, with a single intention to defeat their opponent and reach into the all-important finals before walking away with the title. While SSCB defeated Jharkhand by 5-1, Odisha and Haryana fought it out in the shoot out where Odisha scored in the sudden death to emerge victorious and book a berth in the finals.
In the women’s section, Haryana took on Jharkhand and Odisha women challenged the mighty Punjab, early morning today. Whilst Haryana and Jharkhand battled it out in the Shoot-Out phase with Haryana finally winning the game in the sudden death, Punjab recorded a comfortable triumph over Odisha as it blanked the latter 3-0.
In the first semi final (Men), both Jharkhand and SSCB started with an attacking play while restricting the opponents at the same time from reaching for the goalpost. With excellent field plan and tactics, the two teams managed to stop each other from scoring as a result of which the entire first half of the game saw a dry run. After a goal-less first half, the second half saw both the sides trying to create scoring chances as Inay Bhengra of SSCB scored the first goal in the 37th minute. It was soon followed by another goal, this time from the stick of Davinder Singh in the 42nd minute and a close third from Siraj in the 49th minute. This gave SSCB a lead of 3-0 over Jharkhand, boosting up their morale. Arvind Kujur of Jharkhand scored the lone goal for his side in the 54th minute. Players from SSCB continued to control the game as Johny Jasrotia converted a penalty corner into a goal in 60th minute and Verender Kumar sneaked in a field goal in the 68th minute. This gave SSCB an insurmountable lead of 5-1 as they comfortable recorded a win and proceeded to the finals.
Odisha and Haryana had a neck and neck fight in the second semi final, with an equal score of 3-3 at the end of regulation time and taking it further to the penalty shootouts. In a game that provided an evidence of two teams being at par with each other, Sailendra Singh of Odisha scored the first goal for his side in the 34th minute as Gagandeep Singh for Haryana scored a leveller in the next minute, before the closure of the first half. Arjun Antil and Naveen Antil scored a goal each in the 45th and 51st minute to give Haryana a lead but their joy was short-lived as Osaf Ur Rehman and Arbin Barla soon equalled the score in the 61st and 69th minute, just before the final whistle. This drove the match into the penalty shootout where Kunjan Topno, Mohammed Naeem, Azam Baig and Osaf Ur Rehman scored a goal each for Odisha while Shivdeep, Munish Rana, Naveen Antil and Joga Singh posted a goal apiece for Haryana. Finally, Kunjan Topno scored for Odisha in the sudden death, handing his team a hard-fought win as Odisha entered into the finals.
The first women’s hockey semi final of the National Games saw both the teams- Haryana and Jharkhand starting the game at equal high, playing with full enthusiasm and zeal, with a clear intent to book a berth in the finale. The action packed match had both the sides playing an attacking game, looking for chances to open their scoring account and gain a lead while the defenders put in their best efforts to restrict the opponents from entering their D and get hold of any chances to reach the nets. Amidst the best game play, Jyoti Gupta of Haryana found a gap and managed to sneak in the first goal of the match, giving her side a lead much wished for. The second half began with escalated fervor as none of the teams found chances to score more. It was as late as in the 62nd minute that Kanti of Jharkhand finally helped her team to level the score at 1-1 through her brilliant field goal. With no further goals being scored, the game went into the Shoot Out phase as Jyoti and Kanti again tied the score at 1-1 for their respective teams. This resulted in the game going on to the Sudden Death where it was Jyoti Gupta kept her nerves and struck for Harayana, giving them the win and a place at the Finale of 35th National Games.
In the second women’s semi final, Punjab registered an easy win of 3-0 over Odisha, blanking the latter to set up a final with Haryana. Continuing her luminous performance in the Games, Anuradha Thokchom of Punjab scored the initial goal for her team and this lead soared up the confidence of her team. With boosted buoyancy, the women from Punjab went on to dominate the entire game throughout the first half giving the opponents no chance to score. Anu Bala opened the second half of the match with a radiant field goal for her team in the 36th minute and doubled the score as Odisha was still goal-less, looking out for opportunities to post a goal. With some amazing stick-work and game approach, Punjab did not allow Odisha to score any goals while Manmeet Kaur scored the third goal for Punjab in the 59th minute. At the blow of the final whistle, the scores stood at 3-0, announcing a deserved win for Punjab women as they proudly walked-into the finals.
In women’s section, Jharkhand will play Odisha in the 3rd/4th place playoffs slated to be played on 11 February 2015 at 0730 HRS IST while Haryana will meet Punjab in the finals at 1330 HRS IST at New Hockey Stadium, Kollam (Kerala).
In men’s section, Jharkhand will play Haryana in the 3rd/4th place playoffs slated to be played on 11 February 2015 at 0930 HRS IST while SSCB will meet Odisha in the finals at 1530 HRS IST at New Hockey Stadium, Kollam (Kerala).