Senior National Women's Hockey: Odisha sails into quarters

Odisha made short work of Himachal, beating it 6-1 to seal a quarterfinal berth from Pool A in the A division of the 10th Senior National Women's Hockey Championship.

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Odisha, which held last year's finalist Madhya Pradesh (MP) to a draw in its opening encounter, finished its engagements with 10 points. (Representative Image)   -  Getty Images

Odisha made short work of Himachal, beating it 6-1 to seal a quarterfinal berth from Pool A in the A division of the 10th Senior National Women's Hockey Championship at the National Games Hockey stadium here on Monday.

Odisha, which held last year's finalist Madhya Pradesh (MP) to a draw in its opening encounter, finished its engagements with 10 points. Tuesday's match between MP and Himachal will determine the second quarterfinalist from the pool, with the former enjoying an upper hand. Himachal needed a win against Odisha to keep its quarterfinal hopes alive but after conceding an early goal it was playing catch up.

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Odisha's Dipti Lakra underlined her side's initial dominance by scoring a field goal in the fifth minute. Thereafter the action remained confined to Himachal's half as Odisha controlled the midfield and piled pressure from either flank. Himachal goalkeeper Sheetal Dilta was sharp enough to effect a few reflex saves to keep her team in play. However, Odisha went ahead on the stroke of half-time when captain Rashmita Minz converted a penalty corner.

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The third quarter was more or less a repeat of the first half with Himachal struggling to repel the waves of Odisha attack. Rinki Kujur strove in the midfield for Odisha, impressing with her clever distribution. Odisha struck twice in the third and fourth quarters to complete an impressive win. Arti Kashyap scored the consolation goal for Himachal at the fag end of the match.

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Uttar Pradesh came back from behind to beat Chandigarh 3-2 to keep its quarterfinal hopes alive in Pool C. Last year's B division runner-up Chandigarh appeared to be in control when it took a 2-0 lead in the first quarter as Amritpal Kaur (9) and Sonu (11) struck in quick succession. However, UP regrouped and scored three goals in the space of 10 minutes in a frenetic second quarter to rattle its opponent.

But after having taken the lead, UP played the percentage game, often falling back to defend, and managed to quell the threat from Chandigarh. SAI qualified for the quarterfinals from Pool B after getting a walk-over from Gagan-Odisha.

The results

Odisha 6 (Dipti Lakra 5, 33, Sarita Kerketta 40. 58, Rashmita Minz 30, Jiwan Kishori Toppo 50) bt Himachal 1 (Arti Kashyap 53).

Uttar Pradesh 3 (Vinamrata Yadav 15, Pooja Yadav 20, Archana Bhardwaj 25) bt Chandigarh 2 (Amritpal Kaur 9, Sonu 11).

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