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Home side UP Yoddha produced an all-round performance to beat Puneri Paltan 43-39 in a Pro Kabaddi League match here on Sunday.
Captain and lead defender Nitesh Kumar, with a High 5 (6 tackle points), was the star for the UP team as they clung on to the match despite a late effort from the Pune side to stage a comeback.
Even though the home side had secured a place in the season seven play-offs, they played with more passion on the mat against a Puneri Paltan squad that evidently lacked motivation.
The dropped shoulders of the Pune players showed signs of an unhappy camp and the UP side, despite resting some senior players, were quick to pounce on the opportunity, inflicting an All-Out in the fifth minute of the match.
The trend continued as Rishank Devadiga, Monu Goyat and Surender Singh picked up easy raid points against a Pune defence that lacked cohesion.
In the defence, captain Nitesh Kumar picked up four points for UP in a first half that saw the home side inflict another All-Out with three minutes remaining for the break.
The first half ended 29-15 with UP well on top.
Puneri Paltan started the second half with a much better attitude and got their rewards immediately when Manjeet’s two touches fetched them an All-Out in the third minute.
With the margins reduced to 6 points, Pune tightened their defence to match UP Yoddha move for move.
UP’s Nitesh Kumar secured his High 5 in the fifth minute of the half but both teams failed to open up a healthy lead.
Surjeet Singh and Amit Kumar picked up High 5s for a massively improved Pune defence as they levelled the points with under three minutes left in the match.
Rishank Devadiga managed a two-point raid in the penultimate minute of the match and the home side followed it up with a successful tackle on Nitin Tomar to open a three-point lead.
Amit Kumar’s successful two-point raid in the last minute gave UP a lead and they went on to seal the match from there.