In a match which oscillated between freakish and sublime, Jharkhand held off Manipur to open its 64th Senior National hockey championship with a 4-2 victory here on Friday.

After the first-half stuttered to a close, the game came alive after the restart, with Manipur taking the lead.

A wild hit into the Jharkhand box from the half-line deflected off the stick of a defender, and flew past the Jharkhand custodian. An own-goal was awarded, amidst protest from the East-Zone champion.

Jharkhand pulled level just two minutes later, when Deepak Soreng turned his marker inside-out, and finished with a ferocious reverse-flick.

Then, in the 57th minute, Manipur’s T.H. Herojit took the ball to the corner, and smashed the ball across goal.

The optimistic attempt met a defender’s stick, and beat the goalkeeper Ritesh Dung Dung from an impossibly acute angle.

The third own-goal of the match helped Jharkhand restore parity once again.

With five minutes to go, Jharkhand’s Adnan Wasim grabbed the opportunity to make a run down the middle.

A quick pass found Rabindra Kujur, who beat his marker and scored at the far post.

A few minutes later, a give-and-go move between James Purty and Suman Tirkey gave the latter room in the ‘D’.

Tirkey pulled the trigger to ensure three points for his team.

The result:

Jharkhand 4 (Deepak Soreng, Rabindra Kujur, Suman Tirkey, OG) bt Manipur 2 (OG, OG).

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