Pune: Maharashtra skipper Devendra Walmiki scored the lone goal as the home team defeated Himachal Pradesh in a must-win game to qualify for the quarterfinals of the first Hockey India Junior Men's National Championship at Balewadi on Wednesday.
Walmiki marshalled his players better than Himachal but, in the heat of the moment, the home team ended up picking four cards - two greens and two yellow.
It began with Himachal Pradesh's Prashant Kalsh committing back-to-back fouls before he was cautioned in the 19th minute. Maharashtra mid-fielder Vinay Shukla made a daring move in the 24th minute from the right, but ended up picking a card. Ashish Chetty too followed as players from either side tried to find gaps.
After a goalless first half, Walmiki found the opening in the 48th minute and slammed home the winner.
Maharashtra will meet Jharkhand in the second quarterfinal on Monday.