Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh): The Semi-Finals at the 9th Senior Men National Hockey Championship 2019 (A Division) will see defending Champions Hockey Punjab take on Punjab & Sind Bank while last year’s runners-up Petroleum Sports Promotion Board will take on Railway Sports Promotion Board in what promises to be an action-packed Saturday.
The defending Champions Hockey Punjab who beat Petroleum Sports Promotion Board for the Title last year have remained unbeaten in the tournament so far, having drawn one game against Services Sports Control Board in the round robin stage.
The team led by Dharamvir Singh beat Hockey Haryana 3-0 in the Quarter Finals on Thursday and with India’s top players in their ranks, the defending Champions will be looking to get past the challenge posed by Punjab & Sind Bank with ease.
Their striker Akashdeep Singh has shown splendid form scoring six goals in the tournament so far while drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh also has six goals against his name. Ramandeep Singh who is making his comeback in competitive hockey has scored a total of three goals for his team, apart from setting up goal-scoring opportunities, will be looking to up his game further in the Semi-Finals on Saturday.
Punjab & Sind Bank led by Satbir Singh, meanwhile, will be relying on the tactical defence to disengage Punjab’s fierce forward line. Gaganpreet Singh has shown promise with effective goal-scoring skills with three goals to his name so far and Parvinder Singh, Santa Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Prince and Varinder Singh are players to watch out for in this team.
They finished second in Pool C behind Railway Sports Promotion Board but shocked Air India Sports Promotion Board with a narrow 3-2 win in the Quarter Finals to set up a Semi-Final clash against the Defending Champs.
In the second Semi-Final, Petroleum Sports Promotion Board will take on Railway Sports Promotion Board in what promises to be a battle of nerves with both teams on par with each other.
Led by experienced defender Birendra Lakra, Petroleum Sports Promotion Board features India’s bright young stars Harmanpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Mandeep Singh, Simranjeet Singh, Gurjant Singh Affan Yousuf, Varun Kumar, Sumit among other talented players in their line-up. The team has shown a great form to top Pool B by winning all of their four matches and beat The Mumbai Hockey Association Ltd with a convincing margin of 5-0 in their Quarter Final match.
Railway Sports Promotion Board needs to come up with something special to halt their fine run and will need their experienced players Skipper Chinglensana Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Jarmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Ajit Kumar Pandey and Yuvraj Walmiki will need to play their A game to outperform their opponents tomorrow.
To ensure hockey buffs don’t miss out on these high-voltage matches, Hockey India will be live streaming the Semi-Finals, 3rd/4th placed match and the Final,) on their YouTube channel, Facebook Live and FIH Live. “With India’s star hockey players turning up for their respective teams to play the 9th Hockey India Senior National Hockey Championship 2019 taking place in Gwalior and it is an opportunity for the hockey fans to experience watching top quality domestic hockey,” stated Rajinder Singh, Secretary General, Hockey India.