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Sr Women’s hockey nationals: Odisha, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, M.P win league matches

Kakinada (A.P.), Feb 19 (IANS) Hockey Association of Odisha, Hockey Karnataka, Chhattisgarh Hockey, hockey Madhya Pradesh, and Hockey Bihar strengthened their case of qualifying for the quarterfinals of the 13th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship 2023 by winning their encounters today.

Hockey Association of Odisha took on Hockey Rajasthan in the first Pool A encounter of the day and won by 13-1. Punam Barla (1′, 3′, 29′, 46′, 47′) started the rout with a 5-goal haul with Dipti Lakra (8′), Aten Toppo (22′,37′), Asmita Barla (39′, 40′), Rinki Kumar (39′, 50′) piling on the goals till the end. Sarita (46′) managed to pull one back for Hockey Rajasthan but Player of the Match Anupa Barla (57′) scored in the dying embers of the game to seal the win for her team.

The second match was a close Pool B encounter between Hockey Karnataka and Hockey Chandigarh which the former won by a 2-1 margin. Hockey Chandigarh took the lead through Reetu Devi (13′) but Chandana J (14′, 44′) equalised soon after and scored again in the second half to complete the comeback win for Hockey Karnataka, Hockey India informed in a release on Sunday.

Player of the Match and captain Pooja M.D said, “It was an intense battle out there and I am happy that the match ended in our favour. It’s all a credit to the team for never giving up and believing in ourselves. Receiving a Player of the Match Award after this game makes it so much more special, I cannot wait to get on the pitch and stand a chance to win again,” after winning the match.

The third match of the day in Pool C saw Chhattisgarh Hockey beat Hockey Uttarakhand 4-1. Chhattisgarh Hockey Captain Pooja Yadav (6′) opened the scoring early, followed by goals from Sulochna (12′) and Anjali Mahto (27′, 27′). Hockey Uttarakhand scored a goal soon after through Preeti Sharma (28′) but failed to build any momentum to stage a comeback after that. Anjali Mahto was named the Player of the Match for her scintillating performance in the game.

Hockey Madhya Pradesh and Manipur Hockey emulated the same scoreline in Pool G with M.P. winning 4-1. Manipur Hockey drew first blood through Kshetrimayum Sonia Devi (20′) but Hockey Madhya Pradesh came out in the second half in the mood for a comeback. Goals from Manmeet Kaur (47′), Anjali Gautam (49′), and Player of the Match Preeti Dubey (56′, 60′) earned Hockey Madhya Pradesh 3 points from the game.

Preeti Dubey won the Player of the Match Award for the second time in this competition. “Winning the first two games and two Player of the Match Awards is a special feeling, it means that my performances aren’t going unnoticed and that gives me the confidence to do better in the rest of the games and hopefully the National Squad selectors are keeping a track of it too”, she said after the victory.”

The final match of the day between Assam Hockey and Hockey Bihar from Pool D ended in a 2-0 win for Hockey Bihar. After a quiet second half from both teams, Hockey Bihar’s Kajal Lakra (31′) converted a penalty corner followed by a goal from Nuan Topno (48′). Nusrat Khatoon won the Player of the Match Award for her skill with the stick during the match.