Punjab clinches 11th hockey senior men’s National Championship

Pune (Maharashtra) [India]: Punjab beat Uttar Pradesh 2-1 in a shootout to clinch the 11th Hockey India Senior Men National Championship title here in Pimpri Chinchwad on Tuesday.

Karnataka defeated Maharashtra 5-2 to finish third in the tournament.
In the summit clash, the first half ended goalless in a closely contested final between the two heavyweights. The deadlock continued in the second half as well, with neither of the teams coming close to scoring in the regulation time.

Punjab goalkeeper Kamalbir Singh emerged as the hero of the match, making as many as four saves in the shootout to help his team clinch the title.

Speaking about their victory, Punjab Coach Balwinder Singh said, “As I had mentioned earlier, are as many as 10 players were playing the Nationals for the first time, so this win shows how talented this group is.

“We expected this kind of challenge in the final, our boys showed great character today. The team was led by Rupinder Pal Singh, hence we were confident in defence. Our goalkeeper Kamalbir Singh stood tall and made excellent saves in the shootout. So, it was a great game and really happy to be on the winning side,” he further said.

“I had taken a risk of selecting a young side, and I think I have got my reward. Winning a national championship is a great achievement for a coach, and of course for players as well. It will be a stepping stone for these young players to achieve their dream of playing for the country,” he added.

Meanwhile, Karnataka defeated Maharashtra 5-2 to clinch 3rd place in the tournament. Karnataka established an early two-goal cushion, courtesy of goals from Kumar Yathish B (3′) and captain Mohd. Raheel (5′).

Not giving up easily, Hockey Maharastra went on to equalise through two goals from their Captain Taleb Shah in the 24th and 33rd minute respectively.

But, that wasn’t enough as goals from Pavan Madivalar (37′) and Chiranth Somanna N.D (45′) put Karnataka in the driver’s seat at the end of the third quarter. Likhith Bm’s goal in the 52nd minute ensured Karnataka a clinical 5-2 in the bronze medal match. (ANI)

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