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Bengaluru beat Punjab to keep semis hopes alive

BENGALURU YODHAS kept their hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals alive by defeating Punjab Royals 5-2 in a Pro Wrestling League (PWL) contest in Greater Noida on Sunday.

This was the Yodhas' second victory in four matches. They have climbed to the joint second spot on the points table along with Punjab who now also have a record of two wins in four matches. Both teams are on four points each.

Haryana Hammers and Mumbai Garudas currently sit on top of the PWL table with six points each. 

Bengaluru were off to a winning start when former European champion Pavlo Oliynik quelled a tough challenge from Punjab's Mausam Khatri 4-4 in the men's 97kg division.

Down 0-4, the experienced Khatri fought back to level terms in the second round. But his Ukranian opponent was declared the winner under the big technique rule.

Alyssa Lampe (women's 48kg) doubled Bengaluru's lead by defeating Punjab's Yana Rattigan by technical superiority (24-14) in a high scoring bout.

The opening round was an exciting affair and Lampe was leading 14-10 at the break. The American dominated her English opponent in the second round as well to build up a 10-point lead.

Reigning World Champion Vladimir Khinchegashvili lived upto his reputation when he outplayed Sandeep Tomar of Bengaluru by technical superiority (12-2) in the men's 57kg class to reduce the deficit for Punjab.

Up against the reigning World Champion, Tomar ran into trouble in the first round when his Georgian opponent used the Fitley move to pick up six points at a stretch. 

Although Sandeep was more aggressive in the second round, Vladimir, a silver medalist at the 2012 London Olympics, showcased his superior technique by employing the Fitley move yet again to make sure of victory.

Lalita Sherawat put Bengaluru's in the driver's seat by defeating Punjab's Priyanka Phogat 3-1 in the women's 53kg class.

Bengaluru took an unassailable 4-1 lead in the seven-bout contest when Davit Modzmanashvili overpowered Jargalsaikhan Chuluungbat of Punjab 5-1 in the men's 125kg division.

The Olympics silver medalist from Georgia was much stronger than his Mongolian opponent and opened up a comfortable 4-0 lead in the first round.

Geeta Phogat got Punjab their second win of the day by defeating a valiant Yulia Ratkevich of Bengaluru 9-8 in the women's 58kg event.

But 2015 World Championships bronze medalist Narsingh Pancham Yadav rounded off a commanding performance from Bengaluru by defeating Parveen Rana of Punjab 6-3 in the men's 74kg category in the last bout of the day.

Yadav took a 4-0 lead in the first round. Rana was more aggressive of the two in the second round and picked up two points at the start of the second round.

But the more experienced Yadav displayed superb defensive technique to hold off a series of attacking moves from Rana before taking up two more points with a lighting quick counter-attack. 

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