Odisha, finalist in all the three previous editions, started its campaign with a 5-0 victory over Karnataka in a Pool B match of the Hockey India-fourth junior men’s National championship at the Mayor Radhakrishnan stadium here on Sunday.
Playing with four forwards, Odisha held the upper hand throughout and raided the opposite citadel at will. Sunil Ekka opened the account in the 10th minute with a neat strike off a penalty corner. Dipsan Tirkey made it 2-0 with a fine backhander off another penalty corner seven minutes later.
Karnataka seldom used the flanks unlike its opponent to make inroads. Its forwardline and the midfield weren’t up to the mark and as a result, the team could hardly make an impact.
A fine piece of work from centre-half Kumjan Topno, who dodged past two defenders and passed the ball to forward Teophil Kujur, who in turn tapped it home a minute before half-time, turned out to be the best set-piece of the contest.
The second half didn’t see any difference except that Odisha displayed equal vigour and alacrity to score. Karnataka, on the other hand, was bereft of ideas for the most part barring a shot or two at the target.
Felix Baa’s twin strikes in the space of seven minutes (51st & 58th) — a field goal and a penalty stroke — gave Odisha an unassailable lead.
The results: Pool B: Odisha 5 (Felix Baa 2, Sunil Ekka, Dispan Tirkey, Teophil Kujur) bt Karnataka 0; HP 3 (Amandeep Singh, Abhishek Raghuvanshi, Abhishek) bt Mumbai 2 (Vinay Valmiki, Venkatesh Devkar).
Pool D: Bhopal 3 (Amit Rajbhar, Nadeemuddin, Amir Ur Rehman) drew with Chhattisgarh 3 (Wasiullah Khan, Raja Khan, Kushal Yadav); SAI 7 (Navdeep Singh, Pawan Rajvhar 4, Saurabh Kumar, Sandeep Kumar) bt Maharashtra 3 (Mithilesh Kumar, Sumit Kumar 2).