In a sensational fighting display , the Namdhari XI emerged champions of the 7th Hockey India Sub-junior boys’ National championship (‘B’ Division) at the Hockey Stadium here on Friday to eke out a 2.1 win over Mumbai School Sports Association (MSSA)in the title clash.
Skipper Hanspal Singh broke the deadlock in the 25th minute following an intense battle in the initial period to hand Namdhani the advantage before Sartaj Alam leveled for MSSA in the 49th minute. Hanspal struck again minute later to restore the Haryana side’s lead and regained the control for the remaining period to secure the title.
The tie started at a frantic speed with MSSA dominating early on. However it did not take too long for Namdhari to find their feet as they gradually scrabbled their way back.
MSSA’ goalkeeper Pratik Solanki in the 23rd minute made a good save to deny Namdhari’s Hardeep Singh, who managed to constrict in a hit after getting past a few defenders.
Thereafter two minutes later, Namdhari deservedly went ahead when Hardeep trickled past the MSSA’s defense and sent a pass to Akashdeep Singh inside the circle. Akashdeep then squared it for Hanspal, who tapped it in past a helpless Solanki.
The Mumbai side came out all guns blistering in the second period and earned the equalizer through Sartaj, who, after controlling a long pass from Sunil Yadav, slammed a low shot past the Namdhari goalkeeper Parvesh Singh.
The goal only added fuel to the fire as Namdhari struck back immediately through Hanspal, who was put through by Surpreet Singh.
Namdhari and MSSA will play in the ‘A’ Division next year.
Sanjay M Bhaire
(The author is Editor-In-Chief, Across States)
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