Sr national hockey: Maharashtra take on Tamil Nadu in quarters
Hosts Hockey Maharashtra have reason enough to perform when they take on the Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu in the quarter-finals of the 11th Hockey India Senior Men National Championship at the Major Dhyanchand Hockey Stadium, Nehrunagar-Pimpri on Saturday
Pune: Hosts Hockey Maharashtra have reason enough to perform when they take on the Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu in the quarter-finals of the 11th Hockey India Senior Men National Championship at the Major Dhyanchand Hockey Stadium, Nehrunagar-Pimpri on Saturday.
Having impressed in the pool stage with an all-win record, Maharashtra will hope to use home advantage to their fullest. Their campaign so far has yielded 32 goals, which interestingly has 13 scored by four players off penalty corners which adds up to their repertoire during the match situations.
In comparison, Tamil Nadu have stuck to their job and like Maharashtra made the last-eight stage unbeaten, just that they have played a match fewer. Tamil Nadu on the pitch have found their 18 goals come through mostly field goals and 5 off penalty corners.
So far, Tamil Nadu have not conceded a goal, which Maharashtra will hope to change through skipper and tournament top-scorer Taleb Shah (11 goals - 10 field goals and one-off penalty corner) and Pratap Shinde (9 goals - all penalty corners).
On the other hand, Maharashtra have leaked in three goals: 2 against Chhatisgarh and 1 against Bihar respectively.
In terms of goal scorers, both teams m‘asure 'p 'almost' equally with Maharashtra having seven scorers as compared to six by their southern rivals. Like Taleb and Pratap, Tamil Nadu has Karthi S (8 goals - 2 penalty corners) and Sundarapandi (4 goals) to match up.
For Maharashtra, the run so far has been its best-ever at the Senior Men's Nationals, while Tamil Nadu have enjoyed Top-10 finishes thrice in the 10 editions of the Hockey India blue-ribbon event.
In a head-to-head battle, Maharashtra enjoys a 3-1 win record against Tamil Nadu. The victory came back in 2015 -- the 5th edition of the Nationals, at the same venue and something Maharashtra will hope to repeat in the late evening under lights clash on the morrow.
In the other quarter-finals, two-time winners (2012, 2018), three-time runners-up, and two-time third-place finishers Hockey Punjab, with 2020 Tokyo bronze medallist Roopinder Pal Singh as their key, take on neighbours Hockey Chandigarh in the first of the four quarter-finals.
Later, 2011 runners-up, Hockey Karnataka take on Hockey Bengal, who would be making their maiden appearance ever in the knock-out stage.
In the twilight, 2011 and 2013 third-place finishers Hockey Haryana take on 2015 runners up Uttar Pradesh.
On Friday, Hockey Haryana booked the last quarter-final spot with an easy 5-1 win over Hockey Madhya Prades'. The win was Haryana's second and helped them finish Pool-B on top with 6 points to their credit.
Haryana scored through Joginder (20th), Sanjay (24th, 39th), Boby Singh (35th), and Deepak (38th). Madhya Pradesh pulled one back through Ameen Khan (37th)
Pool-B: Hockey Haryana 5 (Joginder 20th; Sanjay 24th, 39th; Boby Singh 35th; Deepak 38th) bt Hockey Madhya Pradesh 1 (Ameen Khan 37th) HT: 2-0