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Mumbai edge Haryana 3-2, retain National hockey title

Source: PTI
July 18, 2010 22:31 IST
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Alden D'Souza struck twice as three time champions Mumbai overcame Haryana 3-2 to regain the 63rd Rangaswamy Cup Senior National Men's Hockey Championship at the floodlit Aishbagh astroturf Stadium in Bhopal on Sunday.

In an evenly poised match, Mumbai were forced to endure a determined second half challenge from Haryana, who were eager to lay their hands on the prestigious title in their maiden attempt.

Following an evenly balanced first quarter, Mumbai shot into the lead after a couple of raids with Alden D'Souza's blinder of a reverse hit from the edge of the circle on the left piercing through a stunned Haryana defence in the 22nd minute.

Taken aback by the sudden deficit, Haryana retaliated by earning their first penalty corner in the next minute where Surendra Kumar hit wide and in the 26th minute Naveen Antil hit a weak shot off Sandeep Kumar's pass that Mumbai goalkeeper Sudhir Dixit blocked and cleared away to safety.

Mumbai, who last won this title in 1989, went into half time with a crucial lead as they resumed an eventful second half with a degree of confidence.

Seven minutes after the lemon break, Mumbai earned their second penalty corner and the ever reliable Gursevak found the net to give his side a comfortable cushion.

But a gallant Haryana bounced back with Munish Rana reducing the margin in a goalmouth melee in the 44th minute. Rana's effort set the tone for a high voltage entertainer for the remainder of the match.

Mumbai enhanced their lead when man-of-the-match Alden D'Souza fired his second goal after brilliantly trapping Vikram Yadav through and beating goalkeeper Ankit Gulia.

Down 1-3, Haryana refused to give up and defender Hansraj pushed home with a vengeance in the 56th minute off their second penalty corner and put Mumbai under immense pressure until they heaved a sigh of relief on hearing the hooter.

Earlier, Tamil Nadu finished third after edging past Chandigarh 3-2 in the play-off match, which also saw Olympian Adam Sinclair being banned for the next edition of the tournament.

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