Haryana takes on Punjab in the boys Under-17 Khelo India Youth Games hockey final to be played here on January 14. In Saturday's semi-finals, Punjab was fortunate to get past a formidable Odisha unit on the strength of a 6-5 tie-breaker decision after the team were locked 2-2 at full time, a media release issued here said. In the other semi-final, the Haryana boys found the target twice in the space of a few minutes to subdue a plucky Uttar Pradesh side 3-2.
Odisha can consider themselves unfortunate to not have got the better of Punjab on the day as for long spells they held sway over the game. The losing side dominated all aspects of the game and even led twice but was unable to get past the Punjab defence when it was most needed, especially as their target man Bikash Kujur missed what could have been the decider by inches. In the tie-break, Odisha came up short, much to their dismay even as the Punjab boys celebrated. In the other game, favourites Haryana and Uttar Pradesh were locked in a high-tension battle before the former prevailed when it mattered.
Results: Punjab bt Odisha 6-5 (tie-breaker); Haryana bt Uttar Pradesh 2-1.
(With inputs from agencies.)