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Railways and Manipur in the Quarters (9/28/2012)
--Press Release
Indian Railways and Manipur enter Quarter-finals of 2nd Hockey India Senior Men National Championship

Bangalore, Sept 28: Indian Railways and Manipur entered the quarter-finals of 2nd Hockey India Senior Men National Championship by winning hard-fought matches in their respective pools, here on Friday.

The Railways overcame talented Uttar Pradesh 3-1 to top pool F unbeaten while a youthful Manipur, coached by former India star Tikken Singh, overcame Association of Indian Universities 4-3 in pool H to record their third win and advance to the quarter-finals.

Railways and Manipur joined defending champions Haryana (pool A), Punjab (pool C), Air India (pool E) and Tamil Nadu (pool G) in the knock-out stage that commences on Sunday.

Starring in Manipur’s thrilling win were Jayanta Kumar Meitel and Gangamba who scored two goals apiece while the Universities replied through Barkat Singh (2) and Hansraj (1).

An action-packed first half saw Manipur scoring twice as Meitel and Gangamba found the mark in the 17th and 19th minutes, but the collegians fought back to equalize through Barkat Singh (25th) and Hansraj (32nd).

On change of ends, Manipur stepped up the pressure with Gangamba giving them the lead with a 36th minute strike only to see Barkat putting Universities back on part in the 42nd. Meitel then sealed the issue in the 55th minute and Manipur managed to nurse the lead to the finish.

The Railways found their heroes in Sanjay Bir Singh (15th, 34th) and Victo Singh (42nd) while Chandan Singh (22nd) brought some solace for Uttar Pradesh.

Earlier, hosts Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand registered their third wins to keep themselves in contention for quarter-final berths.

Karnataka easily defeated Delhi 9-0 and Andhra Pradesh routed Mizoram 15-3 in two pool B matches while Jharkhand overwhelmed Goa 15-0 to maintain their unbeaten run in pool D where Guwahati-based Sashatra Seema Bal later beat Uttarakhand 5-1 for their second win.

Taking time to settle down, Karnataka opened their account in the 24th minute through Pundalik Bellary and thereafter, scored at will through VR Raghunath, Vikram Kanth, MK Mudappa, Shanker Patil, PL Thimmanna, SK Uthappa, Nikin Thimmaiah and Nitin Thimmaiah.

Joining Karnataka at the top of pool B were Andhra Pradesh who defeated Mizoram 15-3 for their third win. Spearheading Andhra’s goal-spree was Ajay Babu with four goals, followed by Kishore Krishna (3), Ramesh Krishna (3), Sandeep Raju (3), Avinash Chindrapu (2). Mizoram sparked to life late in the match and struck thrice in a three-minute spell through Lalthakima (58th), Lalduhawma (60th) and Lalrinngheta (61st), but by then they had already conceded 14 goals.

Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka both have nine points apiece, but the home team is better placed on goal-difference. The two teams meet on Saturday to decide who will qualify for the quarter-finals.

Topping the Jharkhand goal-rush was drag-flick specialist and India player Diwakar Ram who converted seven penalty corners and another international Ajitesh Roy netted two while Wilson Minz, Anil Xaxa, Banmali Xess, Birendra Lakra, Shashi Topno and John Minz contributed one goal apiece.

In pool F, Assam completed their league engagements on a winning note as they beat Tripura 6-0. It was Assam’s first win in three matches as Magalinga Swami, Ratan Mutana, Rajesh Boro, KD Cariappa and an Own Goal paved their success while Tripura lost all their three matches.

Bihar also finished their campaign in pool F by defeating Andaman and Nicobar 6-0 for their only win in three matches while the islanders suffered their third defeat.

Riazuddin and Niraj Tigga scored twice while Gabriel Herenj and Anup Topno scored one apiece for Bihar.

In an inconsequential pool A match, Bhopal, thanks to goals by Irfan Ali and Merajuddin, got past Bengal 2-0 to finish second behind holders Haryana who have already qualified for the quarter-finals. For Bengal, it was their third defeat in four outings one of which they drew.

The results:

Pool A: Bhopal 2 (Irfan Ali 45th; Merajuddin 66th) beat Bengal 0.

Pool B: Karnataka 9 (Pundalik Bellary 24th, VR Raghunath 27th, Vikram Kanth 32nd, MK Mudappa 35th, Shanker Patil 44th, PL Thimmanna 49th, SK Uthappa 50th, Nikin Thimmaiah 52nd, Nitin Thimmaiah 63rd) beat Delhi 0.

Andhra Pradesh 15 (Kishore Krishna 1st, 20th, 27th; Ajay Babu 8th, 38th, 39th, 69th; Ramesh Krishna 12th, 18th, 50th; Sandeep Raju 28th, 51st. 45th; Avinash Chindrapu 34th, 41st) beat Mizoram 3 (Lalthakima 58th; Lalduhawma 60th; Lalrinngheta 61st).

Pool D: Jharkhand 15 (Diwakar Ram 20th, 37th, 39th, 49th, 55th, 60th, 67th; Ajitesh Roy 31st, 52nd; Wilson Minz 7th; Anil Xaxa 10th; Banmali Xess 25th; Birendra Lakra 29th; Shashi Topno 32nd; John Minz 69th) beat Goa 0.

Sashatra Seema Bal 5 (S Romikumar Singh 20th, 44th; L Joychandra Singh 10th; H Surchandra Singh 48th) beat Uttarakhand 1 (Prakash Singh Mehra 65th).

Pool F: Indian Railways 3 (Sanjay Bir Singh 15th, 34th; Victo Singh 42nd) beat Uttar Pradesh 1 (Chandan Singh 22nd).

Assam 6 (Magalinga Swami 11th, Ratan Mutana 16th; Rajesh Boro 25th, 50th; KD Cariappa 34th; Own Goal 40th) beat Tripura 0.

Pool H: Manipur 4 (Jayantakumar Meitel 17th, 55th; Gangamba 19th, 36th) beat Association of Indian Universities 3 (Barkat Singh 25th, 42nd; Hansraj 32nd).

Bihar 6 (Riazuddin 14th, 46th; Niraj Tigga 35th, 50th; Gabriel Herenj 37th; Anup Topno 53rd) beat Andaman & Nicobar 0.

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