Bangalore: A brilliant brace by young Karan Laxman Baskaran fashioned a 3-1 victory for Bhopal Badshahs, who defeated hosts Karnataka Lions in their first home match of the World Series Hockey at the KSHA stadium on Monday.
The action-packed third quarter saw Lions take a lead in the 41st minute through veteran star Dhanraj Pillay, who showed glimpse of his famed stick-work and aggression.
Put in possession by Arjun Halappa, he overcame a defender and tapped in near the left post on his second attempt. Arjun Halappa played his heart out for the Lions but could not help his team win.
However, Lions suffered severe set-back thereafter as Badshahs came out aggressively not only to equalise but pump in two more goals in the next five minutes.
A brilliant field goal saw Lalit Kumar Upadhyay receive a long ball from the midfield. The hardworking youngster was all over the place on Monday. He was quick in his passes and fast to fall back and defend. He moved into the circle but with two defenders blocking him, he passed the ball back to Waseem Ahmad and the Pakistani star did not waste any time with a quick short pass to his right where a waiting Baskaran slammed in his first goal in the 43rd minute.
Within two minutes, Bhopal earned a short-corner and Baskaran was once again in his elements scoring with a low strike between rival goalie Chouhan and defender Len Aiyappa to post the lead. Suddenly, the match came to life and a silly mistake in the defence saw Badshahs post another field goal in the 48th minute.
Lions` defender Len Aiyappa fumbled a bit and Lalit Kumar stole the ball just outside the circle and put Sameer Dad in possession. Badshahs` skipper sent in a first-time short which brooked no answer from the rival goalkeeper to make it 3-1 in favour of Badshahs.
Earlier, the barren first half proved unlucky for Lions. Though Badshahs had better possession and three shots at goal, it was Lions who proved to be more dangerous but missed taking the lead by a whisker, twice in the two quarters.
Lions are yet to open their account in the tournament while Badshahs have six points from two wins and one loss.