Savitribai Phule University, Pune and Punjabi University scored contrasting wins to enter the quarter-finals of the SNBP – 28th Nehru All-India Inter-University Hockey Tournament (Inter-Zonal Final) at the Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium, Nehrunagar, Pimpri on Monday.
In a one-sided game, Pune University hammered Banaras Hindu University a 10-0 win, while unbeaten Punjabi University, Amritsar won a close 4-3 win over SRM University, Chennai.
Punjabi University (6 points; 2 matches), Pune University (6 points; 3 matches) made the quarter-finals from Pool-C. SRM University, Chennai (3 points; 3 matches) and Banaras Hindu University (0 points; 2 matches) made their exit from the tournament being conducted in collaboration with the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) and Pune’s SNBP Group of Institutes, under the aegis of Hockey India.
Needing a win to qualify, Pune University was helped by skipper Taleb Shah’s five goals (17th, 26th, 35th, 42nd, 49th) and a 3-goal contribution from Prajwal Moharkar that was enough to squash East Zone’s fourth-place qualifiers Banaras Hindu University. Gufran Shaikh (54th) and Karan Durga (56th) added to the tally.
In the other match in Pool C, Punjabi University, Patiala staged a comeback to pip SRM University in a seven-goal thriller.
Punjabi University had Michael Topno (13th), Harmeet Singh (35th) score, while Jeeva Kumar (20th), M Hariharan (39th) levelled the scores for SRM University to share honours 2-2. Amit B (40th) converted a penalty corner to push SRM University into a 3-2 lead.
However, two goals in two minutes, first by Mahakdeep Singh (48th) off a penalty corner and then Suraj Kumar (50th) was enough to level and win the match for Punjabi University.
Pool D, meanwhile, is still wide for qualification after defending champions MG Kashi Vidhyapit, Varanasi and Lovely Professional University, Phagwara played out a 3-3 draw and Bangalore University, Bengaluru pipped University of Mumbai 2-1.
In a close encounter and exciting encounter, Lovely University took the lead through Boby Dhami Singh (19th). MG Kashi Vidyapit struck back with two goals via Amit Kumar Yadav (23rd) and Vishnu Kant Singh (30th) to lead 2-1 at halftime.
In the second half, it was Lovely University’s turn to score twice. Akashdeep Singh (42nd) off a penalty corner and Bhushan Sharma (51st) made it 3-2 off a field goal.
Five minutes from the final hooter, MG Kashi Vidyapith forced a penalty stroke which Dhananjoy Meitei (55th) converted to share points.
In the second match of Pool D, Bangalore University rode on two penalty corner conversions — one in each half — by Mohammed Fahad (30th, 42nd) to hand the University of Mumbai their second loss in three matches. The University of Mumbai reduced the margin through Bhim Bahadur Batala (47th).
After Monday’s matches, Pool D has Lovely University (4 points; 2 matches) in the lead, followed by MG Kashi Vidhyapit, Varanasi (4 points; 3 matches), Bangalore University, Bengaluru (3 points; 2 matches) and University of Mumbai (3 points; 2 matches).
Savitribai Phule University, Pune 10 (Prajwal Mohakar 7th, 29th, 31st; Taleb Shah 17th, 26th, 35th, 42nd, 49th; Gufran Shaikh 54th; Karan Durga 56th) bt Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi 0.
Punjabi University, Patiala 4 (Michael Topno 13th; Harmeet Singh 35th; Mahakdeep Singh 48th; Suraj Kumar 50th) bt SRM University, Chennai 3 (Jeeva Kumar 20th; M Hariharan 39th; Amit B 40th).
Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith, Varanasi 3 (Amit Kumar Yadav 23rd; Vishnu Kant Singh 30th; Dhananjoy Meitei 55th) drew with Lovely Professional University, Phagwara 3 (Boby Dhami Singh 19th; Akashdeep Singh 42nd; Bhushan Sharma 51th).
Bangalore University, Bengaluru 2 (Mohammed Fahad 30th, 42nd) bt University of Mumbai 1 (Bhim Bahadur Batala 47th).