SAIL (Steel Authority of India Limited), Orissa, continued their impressive form at the 35th Junior (under-20) National Hockey Championship for boy's and girl's, as they scored another authoritative win, handing Manipur a 7-1 defeat, for their second successive win in Pool 'A', at the Major Dhyanchand ground, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nehrunagar on Sunday.
Taking control from the outset, SAIL did not waste too much time to open the scoring as Mikhail Brala found success in the fifth minute. But they had to wait for a further 23 minutes to double the lead when Jitendra Yadav scored a field goal.
But after an extended break of almost 30 minutes, due to a sudden downpour, accompanied by thunder and lightning, the Orissa outfit scored five more goals at regular intervals to seal the fate of the Manipur boys.
Aijub Ekka and Sunil Toppo scored a brace each, while captain John Toppo rounded off the tally with a cracking hit from the edge of the striking circle. Herojit managed to pull one back for the Manipur side.
The Orissa lads, who had thrashed Rajasthan 10-0 in the opening match, now tally six points and have virtually sealed their place in the pre-quarter-finals. They next meet Kerala and even a draw will suffice for them to progress to the next round.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan put up an improved display to eke out a narrow 3-2 win against Kerala in another match in the same pool. Rajasthan take on Manipur in the concluding pool match on Monday.
Earlier in the day, MPSHA also maintained their fine winning run as they, too, recorded another facile 12-1 win against Uttarkhand in a Pool 'E' match. The highlight of the MP lad's fluent win was centre forward Kamlesh Rai, who hammered in five goals. Arman Qureshi and Rana Pratap played fine supporting roles as they scored a brace each, while Shilendra B, Amrit Goswami and Vikas Choudhari netted a goal each to complete the tally. For the hapless Uttarkhand outfit Basant Bhardwal scored the lone consolation goal.
MPSHA, having won both their matches convincingly have also advanced to the next round from Pool 'E'.
Pool A: Rajasthan 3 (Charitra S 2, Sanjay K) bt Kerala 2 (Pradeep P, Mohammed M); SAIL 7 (Aijub Ekka 2, Sunil Toppo 2, mikhail Barla, Jitendra Yadav, John Topno) bt Manipur 1 (Th. Herojit).
Pool E: Madhya Pradesh State Hockey Academy (MPSHA) 12 (Kamlesh Rai 5, Arman Qureshi 2, Rana Pratap 2, Shilendra B, Amrit Goswami, Vikas Choudhari) bt Uttarkhand 1 (Basant Bhardwal).