Bangalore – Air India hammered Nagaland 16-0 to become the first team to enter the quarterfinals of Hockey India’s second senior National Men’s Hockey Championship here Tuesday.
With three wins from as many matches in the four-team Pool E, Air India topped with nine points as they faced little opposition from the other sides.
Vikram Pillay helped himself to four goals while Naveen Sangwan and Somanna Pradhan slotted in three apiece. Sandeep Singh and Birendra Lakra followed up with two each while Vikas Pillay and Vinod Pillay completed Air India’s 16-goal tally.
Meanwhile, defending champions Haryana have all but secured a quarterfinal berth from Pool A as they chalked up their third consecutive win by defeating lowly Puducherry.
Hosts Karnataka opened their campaign with a fluent win over Mizoram in Pool B while Tamil Nadu enjoyed a good workout against Kerala winning 16-1 in Pool G.
Pool A: Maharashtra 3 (Narad Bahadur 2, Vijay Thapa) beat Bengal 1 (Adesh Balmiki); Haryana 3 (Harpreet Singh, Karamjit Singh, Naveen Antil) beat Puducherry 1 (Kamalakannan).
Pool B: Karnataka 5 (SK Uthappa, Nitin Thimmaiah, VR Raghunath, Mohan Muthanna, MB Aiyappa) beat Himachal Pradesh 0; Andhra Pradesh 5 (Ajay Babu, Krishna Kishore 2, Ramesh Krishna 2) beat Delhi 2 (Pawan Singh Chauhan, Avtar Singh Mann).
Pool C: Services 16 (Sanwar Ali 2, Arumugam 4, Sairaj Alira 4, Lovepreet Singh 2, Sunil Somwarpet 2, Sukhdev Singh, Muthanna Pradhan) beat Chhattisgarh 0; Jammu and Kashmir w/o Arunachal Pradesh.
Pool D: Uttarakhand 3 (Manoj Singh Rawat 2, Kailash Singh Jalal) beat Goa 0.
Pool E: Madhya Pradesh 11 (Vikas Choudhury 4, Arman Qureshi 3, Amit Kumar Singh, Shakir Hussain, Irshad Iqbal, Nizamuddin Mohammed) beat Rajasthan 0; Air India 16 (Vikram Pillay 4, Naveen Sangwan 3, Somanna Pradhan 3, Sandeep Singh 2, Birendra Lakra 2, Vikas Pillay, Vinod Pillay) beat Nagaland 0.
Pool G: Tamil Nadu 16 (Ashok Kumar, Rupinder Pal Singh 5, V Raja, Vinod Rayer 3, Gunasekar 2, Sivamani, Manoj, Damu 2) beat Kerala 1 (E Sarin).