Kovilpatti: Uttar Pradesh Hockey maintained their stellar 100% record in the 11th Hockey India Junior Men National Championship 2021, Kovilpatti, Tamil Nadu with a decisive 3 - 1 victory over Hockey Chandigarh in the Final of the competition.
Tournament top scorer Sharda Nand Tiwari opened the scoring for Uttar Pradesh Hockey in the 15th minute with a trademark Penalty Corner, before Arun Sahani (16', 34') stretched Uttar Pradesh Hockey's lead further with a brace. Raman pulled one goal back for Hockey Chandigarh in the 51st minute, but Uttar Pradesh Hockey held on to the lead to be crowned champions of the tournament.
Uttar Pradesh Hockey Coach Rajesh Sonkar hailed praise on his team's performance as a united group after the victory, saying, "This has been a combined team effort from the boys who have each given everything for the team. There are a lot of players in this team who have potential to break into the National team setup if they can keep up this level of performance."
Speaking further about the team's achievement, Sonkar said, "I think Uttar Pradesh Hockey has reached the latter stages of quite a few Nationals tournaments, but has not been able to get over the line in quite a few years. I am elated that this group was able to not just reach the Final, but also win the Gold Medal."
In the 3rd/4th Place playoff match, Hockey Association of Odisha edged out Hockey Haryana 3 - 2 in a closely contested affair to clinch 3rd place in the competition. Hockey Association of Odisha took the lead in the match through Deepak Minz (27'), only to be pegged back by two goals from Rohit (34') and Deepak (36'), who put Hockey Haryana in the lead in the third quarter. Hockey Association of Odisha answered back with a quickfire brace of their own at the start of the fourth quarter, scored by Sushant Toppo (47') and Sudeep Chirmako (49'). Hockey Association of Odisha held on to the 3 - 2 lead to secure third place.