Bangalore: Indian Railways and Manipur entered the quarter-finals of second Hockey India Senior Men National Championship by registering hard-fought victories in their respective pools here.
While the Railways overcame a talented Uttar Pradesh 3-1 to top pool F with an unbeaten record, a young Manipur side overcame Association of Indian Universities 4-3 to regoster their third win in pool H.
Railways and Manipur have now joined defending champions Haryana (pool A), Punjab (pool C), Air India (pool E) and Tamil Nadu (pool G) in the knock-out stage of the competition which will begin on Sunday.
Indian Railways and Manipur entered the quarter-finals of second Hockey India Senior Men National Championship.
Jayanta Kumar Meitel and Gangamba, who scored two goals apiece, starred in Manipur's thrilling win, while for the Universities Barkat Singh (2) and Hansraj (1) were the goal-getters.
In the action-packed first half, Manipur scored twice through Meitel and Gangamba who found the mark in the 17th and 19th minutes.
But the Universities team fought back to equalise through Barkat (25th) and Hansraj (32nd).
Gangamba was once again at the thick of things and restored Manipur's lead just a minute after the breather, only to see Barkat putting Universities back on level terms in the 42nd minute.
Meitel then sealed the issue in Manipur's favour in the 55th minute.
Meanwhile, the Railways found their heroes in Sanjay Bir Singh (15th, 34th) and Victo Singh (42nd), while Chandan Singh (22nd) scored the solitary goal for UP.
Earlier, hosts Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand registered their third wins in the event to keep themselves afloat for quarter-final berths.
Karnataka easily defeated Delhi 9-0 and Andhra Pradesh routed Mizoram 15-3 in two pool B matches while Jharkhand cruched Goa 15-0 to maintain their unbeaten run in pool D.
Guwahati-based Sashatra Seema Bal also beat Uttarakhand 5-1 for their second win in pool D.
Joining Karnataka at the top of pool B were Andhra Pradesh, who defeated Mizoram 15-3 for their third win.
Both Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have nine points apiece, but the home team is better placed on goal-difference.
The two teams meet tomorrow to decide who will qualify for the quarter-finals.
In pool F, Assam completed their league engagements on a winning note as they beat Tripura 6-0. It was Assam's first win in three matches while Tripura returned empty-handed.
Bihar also finished their campaign in pool F by defeating Andaman and Nicobar 6-0 for their only win in three matches while the islanders suffered their third defeat.
In an inconsequential pool A match, Bhopal, thanks to goals from Irfan Ali and Merajuddin, got past Bengal 2-0 to finish second behind holders Haryana who have already qualified for the quarter-finals.