Western Rly pip MSP to enter quarters

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Mumbai, Sep 17 (UNI) Western Railway endured a strong challenge before overcoming a gallant Maharashtra State Police 4-2 in an absorbing second round tie, in the eighth All India Guru Tegh Bahadur Gold Cup Hockey Tournament at the MHA-Mahindra Stadium today.

Western Railway thus booked a berth in the quarterfinals.

In an exciting, fast paced encounter that had its fair share of goalmouth thrills, Western went up in the 14th minute off a neat deflection by the hard working Hardeep Singh, who was at the right place, at the right time, positioned in front of the goal to slam home following a long cross from the right.

Western, who take on Punjab National Bank in the quarter-finals, earned three penalty corners in the first half, that reflected they enjoyed the better of the exchanges.

But MSP fought back and were rewarded in the 19th minute when Vinod Manugade slotted in the equaliser following a penalty corner.

MSP had a brilliant opportunity to take the lead in the next minute, but Manugade's firm push was blocked by goalkeeper Sairam Bishnoi off an impressive move on the left at a time when the policemen were inspired.

Manugade had another chance to put MSP ahead but he fumbled and paid the price for delaying a deflection as Bishnoi rushed out to thwart him again at the top of the circle.

A minute after half time, Hardeep bungled in front of the goal after receiving a long cross from the centre. But Western did not have to wait long as defender Amarjeet Singh gave them the lead in the 38th minute off their fourth penalty corner.

MSP pressed hard for the equaliser with regular raids but they had to wait until the 51st minute when Manugade fired home off their third penalty corner to set the stage for a thrilling finish.

With Western attacking and defending well, they struck two goals in quick succession with only seven minutes remaining, to end MSP's challenge.

Jasdev Singh's deflection found the mark in the 63rd minute and Jayesh Jadhav sealed the issue in the 70th and last minute of the match, off their ninth penalty corner.

UNI GS RN RKM RK2041

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