Rupinder Pal Singh has underpinned his utility to the national side on umpteen occasions. He may have retired from international hockey after the Tokyo Olympics but there is left hockey left in him, which was amply evident at the 11th Hockey India Senior Men National Championship that is being played at the Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium in Pimpri, Pune.
The burly fullback scored two goals that had a telling effect on Hockey Maharashtra and was aided by a Sudarshan Singh goal as Hockey Punjab romped home 3-0 much to the disappointment of the home crowd, who were anticipating the Maharastra to make it to the final. It needs mentioning that Rupinder helped his team’s cause in a big way in the semifinals scoring a brace against Hockey Chandigarh.
Unlike the Punjab-Maharashtra that was lop-sided, Uttar Pradesh Hockey nosed out Hockey Karnataka by the odd goal in three. The UP outfit took control of the match with goals from Mohammad Amir Khan and Vishal Singh in the first eight minutes of play. Down 0-2 in the opening quarter meant that Hockey Karnataka was under the pump – they did reduce the deficit via captain Mohammed Raheel in the second quarter.
The second half did not produce any goals – both teams had their chances but in the end, it was Hockey Karnataka who had the last laugh. Hockey Karnataka will now play Hockey Maharastra in the bronze medal play-off tie, while all the excitement will surround the Hockey Punjab-Uttar Pradesh Hockey final clash.