National Hockey: UP to meet Karnataka in final

Sandeep Singh (C) of India hit a success

Bangalore – Uttar Pradesh qualified to meet hosts Karnataka in the final of the Indian Hockey Federation’s 64th senior National men’s hockey championship for the Rangaswamy Cup after drubbing Manipur 19-2 in their concluding league match here Wednesday.

UP’s massive win helped them ease past Mumbai on goal-difference after the two teams were tied on points with 10 apiece. UP finished with a goal-difference of plus 26 to Mumbai’s plus 21. Karnataka had made the final Tuesday by topping the table with 11 points.

Mumbai, the defending champions, will have to be content playing Punjab, who later beat Jharkhand 6-0, for third and fourth positions.

UP, who needed to beat Manipur by a minimum of 13-goal margin, left nothing to chance and scored at virtually every opportunity after penalty corner specialist Diwakar Ram opened the account with a first minute conversion.

Diwakar Ram went on to score two more goals while Prem Kumar and Imran Khan topped the list with five apiece with Pramod Kumar (2), Abhishek Singh (3) and Farooq Alvi (1) chipping in as UP chalked up a big win.

Manipur, who lost all their five matches, replied through Punachandra and Bidya Kumar, but on the day, they were hopelessly outplayed.

Later, Punjab beat Jharkhand 6-0 to finish their league engagements with three wins after Balwinder (2), Satwinder (2) and Sanjeev Kumar (2) scored.

Thursday’s fixtures: Mumbai vs Punjab (4 pm, for 3-4 positions); Karnataka vs Uttar Pradesh (Final, 6 pm).

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