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PWL: Punjab dash Mumbai’s knockout hopes

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New Delhi, Jan 22: Punjab Royals icon player Geno Petriashvili crushed Satender Malik in the men's super heavyweight (125 kilogram) category to help his team to a 5-2 victory over Mumbai Maharathi in a Pro Wrestling League (PWL) contest at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium here on Monday.

Leading 3-1 at the half-way stage, the Georgian was at his imperious best and delivered the knockout blow to the Mumbai outfit as he carved out a dominant 7-0 win against Malik.

Geno's success not only gave Punjab their fourth win in the tournament but also dashed Maharathi's hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages with Veer Marathas becoming the fourth team to advance to the semi-finals.

With Punjab sealing the victory with two bouts remaining, later in the next two inconsequential contests, Anastasija Grigorjeva of Latvia pinned Mumbai's icon Sakshi Malik 10-2, while Soslan Ramonov of Maharathi beat his compatriot Ilyas Bekbulatov by a narrow 7-6 margin.

Commonwealth champion Pooja Dhanda of India earlier upset World championship silver medallist Odunayo Adekuoroye of Nigeria to put Punjab 3-1 ahead.

It was the Maharathi grappler who seized the initial opportunity and held on to her lead for the entire opening period. However, presented with a small opening in the second period, the Indian pounced on her opponent to score a 4-2 victory via fall.

In the third bout of the day, Erdenebatyn Bekhbayar of Mongolia thrashed Utkarsh Kale 10-0 to pull one back for Mumbai.

Trailing 0-2, the World championships bronze medallist lived up to his reputation and dominated the Indian to keep his team's hopes alive of making it to the semi-finals of the tournament,

Earlier, Mumbai Maharathi won the toss and chose to keep Nirmala Devi out of action while the Royals opted to block Parveen Dahiya in return.

In the opening bout, Deepak Punia overcame a spirited Satyawart Kadian 6-5 in the men's 92kg clash to give Punjab Royals a flying start.

It was Kadian who was on the front-foot and took a 4-0 lead. He kept his nose ahead for the majority of the second period and just when a win was looking imminent for him, Deepak turned the tide and came out victorious in the dying moments of the bout.

France's Koumba Larroque made it two in two for Punjab after she picked up a close 2-0 victory over her compatriot and fancied rival Cynthia Vescan in the women's 76kg section.

After logging two points, the World championship bronze medallist played smartly without trying to do anything fancy and held on to her lead to walk out triumphant. 

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