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Junior National Hockey Championship: Maharashtra bow out

Hosts go down to Jharkhand in the Junior National hockey quarterfinals

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Maharashtra’s campaign ended in the quarterfinal round of the Junior National hockey championship, as they went down to Jharkhand 2-1 at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi here on Monday.

After leading 1-0 till the half-time, Maharashtra lost out to their opponents by a golden goal.

Earlier, both teams tested each other before Maharashtra went 1-0 up when Harjeet Singh smashed in following a penalty corner. But Maharashtra squandered eight other penalty corners as Devendra  Walmiki didn’t experiment at all and wasted all the chances.

Leading 1-0, too much of individual play and lack of second line of attack saw Maharashtra lose grip over the match.

Anil Xaxa brought cheers to Jharkhand camp in the 47th minute when he completed a field effort from the centre.

Maharashtra had a chance to go 2-1 up in the 50th minute when Walmiki set up Upendra Pillay, but the latter shot the ball wide off the right post. In the 54th minute, Maharashtra earned three back-to-back penalty corners, but Pillay’s pushes were one-directional, which achieved nothing.

There was scrappy play for next 10 minutes before striker Nitin Kumar rushed from the centre with Walmiki on his heels. But other players were stranded in the middle before they lost control over the ball as Jharkhand defenders stone-walled their move.

Jharkhand will now take on Haryana in semifinal as the latter defeated Madhya Pradesh 5-3 while Punjab will face Orissa in the other semifinal.

Results: Q/F:  Punjab 6 (S Singh 2, A Pandit, J Singh, M Singh, S Singh) bt Bihar 1 (N Dodray); Jharkhand 2 (A Xaxa, R Kandulna) bt Maharashtra 1 (H Singh); Orissa 5 (D Kullu, S Xalxo, M Barla 2, I Toppo) bt Karnataka 2 (T Puliyanda, B Karineravanda); Haryana 5 (S Singh 2, M Rana 2, N Antil) bt MP 3 (R Singh, V Chaudhary 2)

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