Karnataka and Steel Authority of India Limited from Orissa scored hard-fought victories in their respective boys' quarter-final matches to set up an interesting semi-final in the 35th Junior (under-20) National Hockey Championship, organized by Pune District Hockey Association in association with the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, under the auspices of the Indian Hockey Federation.
The lads from Karnataka held their nerve to quell a spirited challenge from Indian Oil Corporation, pulling off a 4-2 win, in an engrossing battle at the Major Dhyanchand ground, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nehrunagar on Sunday morning.
Spearheading the Karnataka attack, Poonacha M G came up with three crucial goals and was instrumental in leading the southern outfit to victory. He opened the scoring by converting their first penalty-corner in the 21st minute and then added two more in the 41st and 63rd minutes.
Nikin Thimmaiah was responsible for the winners' other goal.
The IOC forwards, who were kept in check by the Karnataka defenders, managed to reduce the margin by converting two of the 10 penalty-corners earned, through Sampath Kumar (52nd minute) and Gagandeep Singh just before the final hooter.
Meanwhile, SAIL continued their fine run of form as they rallied from a one-goal deficit to edge out Punjab & Sind Bank (PSB) Academy 2-1.
The young Orissa team once again produced a disciplined performance which clearly titled the match their way.
The semi-finals will be played on Tuesday.
Girls' quarter-finals: Chandigarh 2 (Shivani 42nd, 68th) bt Jharkhand 1 (Anima Minz).
Uttar Pradesh 8 (Rashmi Singh 16th, 20th, 33rd, 50th, 61st, Kavita M 3rd, 38th, Pratibha Chaudhari 9th) bt Pune District Hockey Association 1 (Supriya Jadhav 22nd).
Boys' quarter-finals: Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) 2 (Mikhail Barla 33rd, Sunil Toppo 65th) bt Punjab & Sind Bank 1 (Jasjit Singh 13).
Karnataka 4 (Poonacha M G 21st, 41st, 63rd, Nikhin Thimmaiah 42nd) bt Indian Oil Corporation 2 (Sampath Kumar 52nd, Gagandeep Singh 69th).