Punjab edged out Uttar Pradesh via a penalty shootout to claim the title in the Alchemist Federation Cup hockey tournament at the Shivaji Stadium here on Sunday.
In a keenly fought final match, the two teams were tied 1-1 after the regulation period.
In the shootout, Punjab beat Uttar Pradesh 4-3 to bag the winner’s cheque of Rs 1.5 lakh.
Uttar Pradesh managed a penalty corner in the 32nd minute, but Diwakar Ram’s flick was padded away by Punjab goalkeeper Amandeep Singh.
Punjab had a fabulous opportunity to take a lead when Parvinder Singh was brought down inside the Uttar Pradesh circle and the umpire pointed to the spot. However, Varun Kumar’s shot hit the right post.
Soon after, Uttar Pradesh earned a penalty corner due to the effort of its hardworking forwards and Diwakar executed a powerful low flick to stun Punjab.
Six minutes later, Rajin Kandulna launched a reverse flick to put a loose ball into the Uttar Pradesh net.
Punjab, consisting mostly of college students, mounted pressure and gathered four more short corners, but it did not have a concrete plan to make the most of these.
In the shootout, when Punjab was leading 4-3, Amandeep Singh hit it wide to give Uttar Pradesh a last chance.
However, Sarabjit Singh bungled his chance as the Punjab camp erupted in joy.
'Uttar Pradesh had some experienced players. So, we had five players in the midfield for the first 20 minutes. Later, when the game opened up, we attacked,' said Punjab coach M.P. Singh.
The result: Punjab 1 (Rajin Kandulna 51) bt Uttar Pradesh 1 (Diwakar Ram 45) via tie-breaker [Punjab 4 (Ajay Kumar, Lakhwinder Singh, Parvinder Singh, Ajit Pandit), Uttar Pradesh 3 (Jagwant Singh, Pramod Kumar, Diwakar Ram)].
Individual awards: Man-of-the-final: Rajin Kandulna (Punjab), Man-of-the-tournament: Diwakar Ram (Uttar Pradesh), Best goalkeeper: Amandeep Singh (Punjab), Best defender: Deepak Beijwad (Karnataka), Best forward: Ajit Pandit (Punjab).