Though Mumbai had scored 21 goals against Manipur in its final league fixture, its team management demanded more.
On Wednesday, the team management proved right. Twenty-one goals were not enough. On the last day of league matches in the senior National hockey championship, Uttar Pradesh needed to defeat Manipur by a 13-goal margin to enter the final at Mumbai’s cost.
The Central-Zone champion posted a 19-2 win, and advanced because of its superior goal-difference.
Uttar Pradesh will now face Karnataka in the final of the Rangaswamy Cup on Thursday, while Mumbai will take on Punjab in the third-place playoff match. The results: Uttar Pradesh 19 (Imran Khan 5, Prem Kumar 5, Diwakar Ram 3, Abhishek Singh 3, Pramod Kumar 2, Farogh Alvi) bt Manipur 2 (P. Priyokumar, S. Bidyakumar); Punjab 6 (Sanjeev Kumar 2, Satwinder Singh 2, Balwinder Singh 2) bt Jharkhand 0.
League standings (goal difference in brackets): 1. Karnataka 11 points (+6), 2. Uttar Pradesh 10 pts (+26), 3. Mumbai 10 pts (+21), 4. Punjab 9 pts (+9), 5. Jharkhand 3 pts (-19), 6. Manipur 3 pts (-46).
Keywords: senior National hockey championship