Youngster Satbir Singh struck a hattrick as favourites Punjab blanked Uttarakhand 12-0 to register their second successive win in Pool A of the National Hockey Championship here on Saturday. They had beaten Gujarat 25-0 in their opening match on Friday.
Satbir struck in the 24th, 32nd and 38th minute to complete a hattrick after Punjab had taken a 5-0 lead by the 16th minute. Gurjinder Singh, Sarvanjit Singh, Harprit and Dharamvir Singh scored a brace each, while Akashdeep contributed one goal to the tally. Coached by Olympian Baljit Singh Saini, this is probably the youngest team put up by Punjab in the championship.
Chandigarh's Gagandeep (sr) scored the other hattrick of the day to help his team open its Pool B campaign with a 17-2 rout of Rajasthan. In all, Gagandeep scored five goals. Narinder Singh Sodhi's boys came out firing on all cylinders and did not allow Rajasthan any leeway in the first half as they led 7-0.
Maharashtra start with a bang
The young Maharashtra team, comprising players mostly from Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers (RCF) and Mumbai Customs, opened their account with a 9-0 thrashing of Goa. Rahul Shilpkar and Deepak Lakra scored three goals apiece, while skipper Nilesh Mane, Vikram Yadav and Irshad Mirza contributed a goal each.
It was an easy outing for Mukul Pandey's team that will face a do-or-die clash against star-studded Haryana on Monday. Haryana have a strong team with the likes of drag-flicker Sandeep Singh, Sardar Singh and Mandeep Antil in the ranks. In contrast, Maharashtra are without the players who helped Mumbai win the Rangaswamy Cup at the same venue last year.
Bengal squander lead, trip in opener
Bengal squandered a 3-0 lead in the first 12 minutes to go down 5-4 to Andhra Pradesh in a hard-fought Pool C encounter. Amardeep Ekka put Bengal ahead in the third minute with a field goal and they doubled the margin two minutes later when Raja Abdi scored another field goal. When Sundar Singh converted a penalty-corner in the 12th minute, Bengal were cruising.
However, AP came back strongly and took a 4-3 lead thanks to a brace by Ramesh and a goal each by Sampath Kumar and Mohd Yavan. Bengal restored parity at 4-4 in the 67th minute but their hopes of salvaging a point from the match went up in smoke when Sampath Kumar blasted home a penalty-corner.