Hockey Chandigarh and Uttar Pradesh Hockey registered victories in contrasting styles to advance to the final of the 11th Hockey India Junior Men National Championship 2021.
Hockey Chandigarh defeated Hockey Unit of Odisha in tiebreak shoot-out while Uttar Pradesh Hockey outplayed Hickey Haryana 8-3 in the semifinals to set up a mouth-watering clash for the title.
In the first semifinal between Hockey Association of Odisha and Hockey Chandigarh, there was nothing to separate the two sides in regulation time as the match ended 2-2 after 60 minutes. In the shoot-out, Hockey Chandigarh held their nerves to secure a 3-0 win.
After Sudeep Chirmako (11′) gave Hockey Association of Odisha the lead, Hockey Chandigarh responded with two quickfire goals from captain Rahul (17′) and Raman (18′) in the second quarter.
Prasant Lakra equalised for Hockey Association of Odisha in the 37th minute, and the match then proceeded to the shoot-out to decide a winner.
The second semifinal was a picture in contrast as Uttar Pradesh Hockey recorded a comprehensive 8-3 victory over Hockey Haryana. Junior World Cupper Sharda Nand Tiwari (13′, 16′, 28′); who has been in red-hot form throughout the competition, became the leading scorer of the tournament with yet another hat-trick on the big stage.
His efforts were supplemented by another hat-trick from Arun Sahani (31′, 35′, 47′) and a brace from Uttam Singh (23′, 60′). Pankaj scored a treble for Hockey Haryana (38′, 43′, 60+’) but that proved insufficient to stop Uttar Pradesh Hockey.