Hockey Nationals | Haryana to clash with Punjab in the final

Leading from the front: Punjab skipper Harmanpreet scored two goals as his side rode roughshod over Karnataka.

Leading from the front: Punjab skipper Harmanpreet scored two goals as his side rode roughshod over Karnataka.
| Photo Credit: R. Ragu

Defending champion Haryana reached its second straight final with a 4-2 victory over Tamil Nadu through shoot-out to set up a summit clash with Punjab in the Senior National men’s hockey championship here.

On Monday, three-time champion Punjab rode roughshod over Karnataka, winning 5-1 in the second semifinal, thanks to a brace from skipper Harmanpreet Singh.

Just when it appeared that a brilliant goal by Abhishek, who hoodwinked two defenders to unleash a backhander had settled the issue for Haryana in the third quarter, TN scored the equaliser with just a few seconds remaining for the hooter.

TN, which did not convert its previous three penalty corners, didn’t inspire much confidence when it took its fourth PC. But, Somanna stunned everyone when his drive went past the outstretched left leg of ’keeper Pawan into the net.

Haryana took a 3-1 lead in the shoot-out after K. Selvaraj and S. Karthi failed to find the target. Sundarapandi reduced the margin.

TN had a glimmer of hope when Haryana captain Sumit’s shot was saved by custodian Senthamizh Arasu. Haryana went for a video referral, which it won, after it was revealed that Arasu had committed a foul.

Haryana was awarded a penalty stroke for the foul, which Joginder Singh converted to put his side in the final.

In the other-last four clash, Punjab had a firm hold on the proceedings against Karnataka. Though a young Karnataka team showed flashes of individual brilliance, Punjab stood its ground with a solid performance.

The match was pretty much over after Punjab took a 4-1 lead in the third quarter. Punjab last won the crown in 2021 and will be facing Haryana for the first time in the final in 13 editions.

The results (semifinals): Haryana 4 (Sanjay, Rajant, Abhishek, Joginder Singh (PS) bt TN 2 (S. Mareeswaran, Sundarapandi) via shoot-out; Punjab 5 (Shamsher Singh 4, Sukhjeet Singh 13, Harmanpreet Singh 39, 44, Akashdeep Singh 45) bt Karnataka 1 (Abharan Sudev 18).

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