Services Sports Control Board overcame a 1-3 setback to hold the defending champions Hockey Punjab 3-3 on Tuesday in the ninth senior national men’s Hockey Championship.

The draw, however, was enough for Punjab to reach the quarter-finals along with the Mumbai Hockey Association Ltd, Petroleum Sports Promotion Board, Hockey Haryana, Railway Sports Promotion Board, Punjab & Sind Bank, Air India Sports Promotion Board and Hockey Karnataka.

India striker Ramandeep Singh, making a comeback after a long injury lay-off, scored the first goal for Hockey Punjab in the 10th minute. But Biraj Ekka levelled the score in the 24th minute. Though Hockey Punjab struck two crucial goals in the 29th and 34th minute through Rupinder Pal Singh and Akashdeep Singh to take a 3-1 lead, Biraj and Rajant scored in the 38th and 57th minute to help their team split points and ensure a place in the quarter-finals.

In a Pool C match, Railways Sports Promotion Board drew with Punjab National Bank 3-3. Punjab National Bank too made a late surge to overcome a 1-3 deficit to hold the Railway Sports Promotion Board. RSPB had taken an early lead through Ajmeer Singh (2’). Dilpreet Singh (16, 44’) scored a brace. But Gurjinder Singh’s splendid double in the 4th and 57th minutes and Sanjay’s 48th minute goal helped PNB draw the match.

In another Pool C match, Punjab & Sind Bank beat Hockey Gangpur-Odisha 3-2. Jaskaran Singh (8’), Prabhdeep Singh (12’) and Varinder Singh (32’) scored for the winners while Suman Kujur (19’) and Joseph Toppo (45’) scored for Hockey Gangpur-Odisha.

In a crucial Pool D match, Hockey Karnataka beat Hockey Odisha 3-2. Former India dragflicker VR Raghunath (25’, 31’) scored a brace while skipper SV Sunil (56’) scored to ensure Hockey Karnataka overcame a 0-2 setback to win 3-2 and make it to the quarter-finals.