Defending champion Hockey Punjab and Mumbai Hockey Association Ltd entered the quarterfinals of the ninth men's Senior National Hockey Championship (Division A), here Tuesday. Punjab were held to a 3-3 draw by Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) in a thrilling match, while Mumbai secured a 3-1 win against Hockey Chandigarh in another Pool A match.
India striker Ramandeep Singh scored the first goal for Hockey Punjab in the 10th minute but the 1-0 lead was equalised in the 24th minute through Biraj Ekka of SSCB. Though Hockey Punjab struck two crucial goals in the 29th and 34th minute through Rupinder Pal Singh and Akashdeep Singh to take a 3-1 lead, Biraj and Rajant scored in the 38th and 57th minute to help their team split points and ensure a place in the quarter finals.
Among others, Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) and Hockey Haryana qualified from Pool B, Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) and Punjab & Sind Bank made the cut from Pool C and Air India Sports Promotion Board and Hockey Karnataka progressed to the last eight from Pool D. In a Pool C match, RSPB drew with Punjab National Bank 3-3.
Punjab National Bank too made a late surge to overcome a 1-3 deficit to hold RSPB who had taken an early 1-0 lead through Ajmeer Singh (2nd) followed by goals from Dilpreet Singh (16th, 44th). It was Gurjinder Singh's splendid double in the 4th and 57th minutes and Sanjay's 48th minute goal that helped them draw the match.
In another Pool A match, skipper Preetinder Singh's goal in the 23rd minute gave Hockey Chandigarh a 1-0 lead but Armaan Qureshi's double in the 25th and 38th minute followed by Shan Keisham's goal in the 50th minute helped Mumbai win the match. In another Pool C match, Punjab & Sind Bank beat Hockey Gangpur-Odisha 3-2. Jaskaran Singh (8th), Prabhdeep Singh (12th) and Varinder Singh (32nd) scored for the winners while Suman Kujur (19th) and Joseph Toppo (45th) scored for Hockey Gangpur-Odisha.
PSPB dominated in their Pool C match against Central Reserve Police Force, beating them 10-2. Harmanpreet Singh (7th, 26th, 53rd), Simranjeet Singh (18th), Mandeep Singh (25th, 50th), Talwinder Singh (44th), Varun Kumar (47th), Gurjinder Singh (55th), Sumit Kumar (55th) scored for the winners.
For Central Sports Promotion Board, Jayant Tirkey (49th) and Saroj Ekka (60th) were the goal scorers. Air India Sports Promotion Board beat Canara Bank 5-3 in a Pool D match.
After getting off to a good start, Canara Bank fumbled the 2-0 lead gained through goals by Nikkin Thimmaiah (5th, 7th). Joginder Singh (15th), Mohd Faraz (22nd), Abharan Sudev (23rd) of Air India Sports Promotion Board scored to lead 3-2.
Though Canara Bank equalised through KS Appanna (28th), Joga Singh (39th) and Arujun Sharma (41st) scored to win the match for Air India Sports Promotion Board. Comptroller & Auditor General Of India convincingly beat Hockey Bhopal 8-0 in their Pool B match.
Imran Khan (17th, 35th, 48th, 57th) impressed with four goals while Bundela SS (1st), Manish Yadav (16th), Deepak Singh (20th) and Nithin Thimmaiah (53rd) scored a goal each to help their team win big. In another crucial Pool D match, Hockey Karnataka beat Hockey Odisha 3-2. Former India dragflicker VR Raghunath (25th, 31st) struck a double while skipper SV Sunil (56th) scored to ensure Hockey Karnataka overcame a 0-2 setback to win 3-2 and make it to the quarterfinals.