Maharashtra Ironmen and Golden Eagles UP defeated Rajasthan Patriots and Telugu Talons, respectively, to reach the ongoing Premier Handball League finals.
The first semi-final of the Premier Handball League saw the home team Rajasthan Patriots take on Maharashtra Ironmen in a highly entertaining clash.
The Maharashtra Ironmen started the game in blistering form as Igor Chiseliov, Jalal Kiani, Manjeet Kumar, Ankit, and Sumit Ghanghas passed the ball fluidly and patiently constructed attacks.
Naveen Deshwal’s heroics in the initial stages of the game saw the Ironmen establish a healthy lead.
The Patriots were determined to find a way back into the game and brought on Happy Singh to do so. Despite the added impetus of Happy Singh, the Patriots were still floundering in front of the goal.
Amninder Singh and Arjun Lakra injected some energy and provided the Patriots a much-needed edge in attack as they started to find the back of the net a lot more consistently.
However, the Ironmen were putting on a masterclass in attack. They were rampaging forward and scoring efficiently.
Igor Chiseliov, Sumit Ghanghas, Ankit, and Jalal Kiani were making sure the Ironmen carried on extending their lead. Soon after, the half came to an end as the score was 17-14 in favour of the Ironmen.
Despite the waning presence of Chiseliov in the opening minutes of the second half, the Ironmen were as rampant in attack as ever as Jalal Kinai, Sumit Ghanghas, Ankit, and Manjeet Kumar were being afforded too much time and space.
The Rajasthan players looked deflated in attack, while the Maharashtra Ironmen carried on with the same ferocity in attack going into the last 10 minutes.
Goals from Kiani, Chiseliov, Ankit, and Manjeet Kumar saw the Ironmen establish an unassailable lead. Soon after, Maharashtra Ironmen became the first team to qualify for the finals defeating Rajasthan Patriots 38-28.
In the second semi-final, Golden Eagles UP stunned Telugu Talons in a penalty shootout to book their place in the finals as at the end of extra time, neither team could be separated with the scores reading 40 all.
Both teams were looking for a quick start to the game. Omid Reza made a couple of crucial saves to not allow the Talons to take an early lead. While Omid was playing his role brilliantly in goal for the Golden Eagles, Sukhveer Singh Brar and Harjinder Panjeta were leading the charge for Uttar Pradesh in the attack.
As the half came to a close, the scores read 16-11 in favour of the Telugu Talons.
The Golden Eagles came out for the second half, determined to wrestle back control of the game. Jyotiram Bhushan Shinde, Sukhveer Singh Brar, and Vikas Kumar were on song in the opening minutes of the second period as they brought the scores level and even took the lead for an instant.
After the scores were level, both teams were neck to neck in attack as they were constantly trading blows as the game was headed for a nerve-wracking final 10 minutes.
Davinder Singh Bhullar, Rahul Nain, and Kailash Patel helped the Talons take a slender lead, while Joytiram Bhushan Shinde and Naveen Malik pulled the game level again in the dying embers of the game.
The last minute of the game was enthralling as a goal by Davinder Singh Bhullar helped the Talons take the lead but a last-second penalty for the Golden Eagles was converted by Bhushan Shinde as the scores were level at 35 all at the end of the second period.
Even after extra time, the two teams could not be separated as the first-ever penalty shootout in the PHL beckoned.
The Penalty shoot-out came to an end after the scores read 4-3 in favour of the Golden Eagles Uttar Pradesh, who will clash against the Maharashtra Ironmen in the final.