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Sr women’s hockey nationals: Haryana power through to summit clash with Maharashtra (ld)

Pune, March 22: Hockey Haryana powered past Hockey Jharkhand 4-0 while hosts Maharashtra dethroned defending champions Hockey Madhya Pradesh 2-1 in the semifinals of the 14th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship at the Major Dhyanchand Hockey Stadium Pimpri, near Pune on Friday.

Hockey Haryana defeated Hockey Jharkhand 4-0 in the first semifinal had over a dozen international players on the pitch, while hosts Hockey Maharashtra prevailed over defending Champions Hockey Madhya Pradesh 2-1 in the other semifinal.

The first quarter ended goalless in the first semifinal with both teams’ defenses playing a tight game. Despite Hockey Haryana having a chance to take the lead with a penalty corner, Hockey Jharkhand managed to keep the ball out.

Hockey Haryana switched up the pace of their game in the second quarter and kept control of the ball for most of it. They earned themselves a penalty corner and made full use of it with Indian team midfielder Navneet Kaur (27’) finding the back of the net as the first half ended with the score 1-0 in favour of Hockey Haryana.

Although Hockey Jharkhand retained much of the possession of the ball at the beginning of the third quarter, Hockey Haryana kept the pressure on them and eventually doubled the lead with a field goal from Indian team midfielder Jyoti (40’). Sharmila Devi (44’), who plays as a forward for the Indian team, then scored a field goal to take the score to 3-0. With just about ten seconds left in the quarter, Hockey Jharkhand was awarded a penalty corner but they failed to convert it.

Hockey Jharkhand managed to make a few circle entries in the final quarter, but a compact Hockey Haryana defense prevented any damage. The latter was awarded another penalty corner and Indian Team forward Deepika (57’) converted it to take the lead to four and confirm a place in the Final, having won the Semi-Final 4-0.

In the other semifinal, hosts Hockey Maharashtra made a thrilling comeback to defeat defending champions Hockey Madhya Pradesh 2-1. After a quiet first quarter that saw no goals, Hritika Singh (28’) converted a penalty corner towards the end of the second quarter as Hockey Madhya Pradesh led 1-0 at half-time.

Hockey Maharashtra was awarded a penalty corner early in the third quarter but there was no conversion. Hockey Madhya Pradesh had many opportunities to convert penalty corners in the third quarter but weren’t able to extend their lead as the score remained 1-0.

With just a goal separating the two teams, Hockey Maharashtra took their tempo up a notch in the final quarter. They managed to equalize with just over eight minutes left on the clock after a penalty corner conversion from Akansha Singh (52’).

Just as the match seemed to be heading into a penalty shoot-out, Kajal Sadashiv Atpadkar (56’) scored a field goal to put the hosts in the lead. Hockey Maharashtra held onto their lead to win the game 2-1 and qualify for the Finals where they will face Hockey Haryana.

On Saturday, the 3rd/4th place play-off between Hockey Jharkhand and Hockey Madhya Pradesh will be played at 1500hrs IST while the final between Hockey Haryana and Hockey Maharashtra will be played at 1900hrs IST.

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