Bangalore - Karnataka defeated last year’s winners Haryana 2-1 to finish third in the men’s national hockey championship here on Tuesday.
For Karnataka, M.B. Aiyappa struck in the 24th minute from a goal mouth scramble following a left-wing move while skipper V.R. Raghunath converted a penalty corner in the 41st minute before his counterpart Sardar Singh scored for Haryana with a reverse hit in the 60th.
In the play-off involving the 2011 finalists, Karnataka dominated and could have won by a bigger margin as they again wasted a few scoring chances while Haryana showed urgency only late in the game.
From the outset, Karnataka applied pressure on Haryana, but the forwards were a let-down as they failed to cash in on the openings inside the striking circle.
It was left to Aiyappa, later adjudged Man of the Match, to open the Karnataka account with an opportunistic goal that inspired the hosts to redouble their efforts.
However, it was not until the 41st minute that Karnataka managed to breach the Haryana defence when Raghunath came good with a drag-flick for the only penalty corner conversion from five attempts.
At the other end, Haryana had few opportunities as they could not find a way through the well-organised Karnataka defence, which slackened in the last quarter.
With time running out, Haryana switched to an all-out attack but Karnataka pulled back all their players to successfully defend their slender lead.