Uttar Pradesh XI took a 2-1 lead over last year's runners-up Western Railway in the first leg semi-final of the 43rd Bombay Gold Cup Hockey Tournament in Mumbai on Tuesday.
UP XI, who shocked fancied Punjab XI from Lahore, Pakistan, on Monday, took a 2-0 lead before the local railway team reduced the margin at the fag end of the match.
The teams were locked goalless at half time.
Left half Sajid Khan put UP ahead in the second minute of the second half with a first-timed reverse hit past Western's goalkeeper Suraj Kanta.
UP made it 2-0 in the 60th minute off a penalty stroke converted by captain Mohammed Kaleem after Sajid was tripped by goalkeeper Kanta who had a poor match.
Western Railway, who muffed nine penalty-corners in the match, reduced the margin through their speedy forward Shivendra Singh, who deflected home from close range a free hit taken from just outside the circle.
The second leg semifinal between the same opponents will be played on May 5 after Wednesday's rest day.