Penalty corner expert Diwakar Ram scored two fine goals as Uttar Pradesh beat Karnataka 5-2 in an eventful semifinal match and booked a place in the final of the Alchemist Federation Cup hockey tournament at the Shivaji Stadium here on Saturday.
Punjab outsmarted Tamil Nadu 5-1 to set up a title clash with Uttar Pradesh.
In a high-voltage encounter, which witnessed nine players being booked for various infringements, Karnataka displayed its good teamwork to take a 1-0 lead through Kusha’s goal. Deepak Singh found the target to level the scores.
The match swung heavily in favour of Uttar Pradesh seven minutes into the second half. Diwakar’s powerful shot along the carpet beat Karnataka ’keeper Mahan Gowdan on the right.
A heated exchange resulted in the suspension of three players, including two from Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh made the most of the opportunity.
Diwakar utilised another short corner, this time a low shot to the left of Gowdan, to make it 3-1.
The match was suspended for half-an-hour due to a spell of heavy rain. When action resumed, pools of water on the pitch affected the pace of the contest. With its tail up, Uttar Pradesh pumped in two more goals as Karnataka struggled to find its rhythm.
In the other match, Tamil Nadu made a fine start by drawing first blood through its captain Adam Sinclair. But Punjab, which came out with a robust gameplan in the second half, banked on Varun Kumar’s brace to record a comprehensive win.
The results (semifinals): Uttar Pradesh 5 (Diwakar Ram 2, Deepak Singh, Sarabjit Singh, Sunny Sonkar) bt Karnataka 2 (Kusha, Umesh); Punjab 5 (Parvinder Singh 2, Varun Kumar 2, Rajin Kandulna) bt Tamil Nadu 1 (Adam Sinclair).