Manipur rout Morocco; Argentina, US draw

MHRPA IMPHAL, 26th Nov: India B represented by Manipur trounced Moroco 15-2 in its second and final league match to emerge winners of Group A on the 5th day of the 11th Manipur Polo International 2017 at Mapal Kangjiebung today. While all the Manipur players had a good day, P Ojit, in particular, was in devastating form scoring eight goals. In the last league match of Group B, Argentina and USA played out a nail biting 4-4 draw, Argentina emerged winners of this group by virtue of better goal average.

In the first match of the day, it was India B all the way right from the very first chukker with the Moroccans hardly getting a chance of a crack at the goal. P.Ojit opened the account for the team in the 2.57th minute while L Atangba and S Bimol added two more goals to make it 3-0 at the end of the chukker.

Atangba once again found the net almost immediately after the start of the 2nd chuuker, his goal coming in the .36th minute. This goal was followed by a hattrick from P Ojit while T Pradeepkumar also joined the party to add another goal to the tally in the 6.05th minute. The Moroccans Managed to pull one back towards the very end of the chukker through Rachid Haddouche, who incidentally suffered a cut in his cheeks during the match. At the end of the chukker, the score read 8-1.

The third chukker was the period, where the local lads really rubbed it in to the Moroccans by incessantly attacking the Moroccan goal without respite. Altogether six goals came in this chukker, four of which including another hattrick came from the mallet of P Ojit while two goals were scored by Th Jacob who came in as a substitute. The Morocco team not only drew a blank but were also not able to mount any pressure on the Manipuri goal.

Contrary to the expectations of a further deluge of goals from the India B side, they were able to add only one more goal in this chukker, Jogendra Meitei who came in as a substitute for Bimol being the goal scorer in the 6.59th minute. Full credits to the Moroccans for not just containing the marauding local side but also for adding another goal to their tally through Bady Kebir in the 2.55th minute. The final score 15-2, which is one goal less than the winning margin of the English team against Morocco.

The match was conducted by Jorge Varquiz of USA who gave way to Kegan Walsh also of USA in the 2nd chukker and Col Tarsem Singh of India.

The second match between Argentina and USA, two of the strongest teams in this tournament, as expected, turned out to be an absolute thriller with fortunes swinging from one team to the other, leaving the spectators in edges. The match ended in a hard fought 4-4 draw, a fair result considering the fact that both the teams played their hearts out with lot of skill, aggression and finesse.

The USA team was the first one to draw blood with Nick Johnson scoring in the 1.30th minute of the 1st chhukker. Kegan Walsh who had a very good match added another goal in the 5.45th minute to make it 2-0. But even though the Argentines failed to score in this chukker, the US team never had a free run with threats to their goal always looming round the corner.

If the Ist chukker belonged to the USA team, the 2nd chukker saw the Argentines coming on their own scoring three very good goals, two by Juan Pablo Saravia and one coming from Jaun Cruz Gramajo. For the USA team, Nate Berube added one more to the tally, leaving the teams tied at 3-3 at the end of this chukker.

The 3rd chukker was a hard fought one with both teams not only attacking the opponent’s goal but also defending its own solidly, some saves being made almost at the goal line. The play switched ends in seconds with attacks turning into counter attacks within seconds. Argentina was finally able to break the stalemate and go ahead 4-3 when Juan Cruz Gramajo scored in the 4.04th minute.

The final chukker was no different from the previous one with each team fighting hard not giving any inch and at one time, it looked as if the Argentines will hold on to their slender lead. But Kegan Walsh managed to break through to score in the 3.45th minute to level the score 4-4 which remain the final score at the end of the match.

There will not be any match tomorrow (November 27) and November 28 India B (Manipur) will take on USA in the !st semi-final while England will clash with Argentina in the 2nd semi-final.

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