Karnataka overpowered a young Tamil Nadu side to enter the semifinals of the Second Hockey India Senior National championship here on Sunday. The 2-0 result may not reflect it, but, barring the early part of the second half, the host had full control over the contest. Tamil Nadu was not helped by its profligate ways with penalty corners, seven of which it wasted.
Karnataka began the dominant side, but failed to make any serious inroads in the opening stages. Nitin Thimmaiah saw an early effort saved by P.R. Sreejesh, while S.K. Uthappa blazed one over the bar. It took nearly half an hour for the home side to break through. On 29 minutes, Pundalik Bellary made a run down the inside-right channel before firing a shot across goal. Sreejesh, who had a good outing, managed to get a hand to the ball but M.K. Mudappa had only to tap in at the far post.
Only three minutes later, Karnataka doubled the lead. Vikram Kanth let off a shot on goal from just beyond the half-way line on the right; P.L. Thimmanna nipped in to get a faint deflection, leaving the opponent stunned.
Tamil Nadu emerged more forceful from the interval, winning five penalty corners in a 12-minute span.
The goalkeeper Tarun Thammanna pulled off two good saves, but the other attempts failed to bother him. Tamil Nadu’s forward trio of P. Dhamu, V. Raja and M. Gunasekar did not want for effort; with some experience and better service from midfield, they might have managed at least one goal.
Once this period was weathered, Karnataka had little to worry about. This had been an improved, all-round performance.
The defence held tight, Vikram Kanth was good with his interceptions in midfield, while the forwards were exceptional with their pressing up top, giving Tamil Nadu little breathing space.
In the day’s first quarterfinal, a brace from Bharat Chikkara led Haryana to a 4-2 victory over Manipur.
Quarterfinals: Haryana 4 (Bharat Chikkara 3, 6, Mandeep Antil 43, Didar Singh 44) bt Manipur 2 (Jayantakumar Meitei 31, 60)
Karnataka 2 (M.K. Mudappa 29, P.L. Thimmanna 32) bt Tamil Nadu 0
Punjab 5 (Gurbaj Singh 7, Gurjinder Singh 12, 47, Akashdeep Singh 31, Prabhdeep Singh 52) bt Railways 1 (B. Horo 5)
Air India 4 (Arjun Halappa 13, 63, Shivendra Singh 39, 66) bt Jharkhand 2 (Diwakar Ram 37, Anil Xaxa 58).