Bangalore: Veteran drag-flicker Len Aiyappa struck twice as Karnataka Lions pulled off a major upset beating Shere-E-Punjab 2-1 in an 11th round match of the World Series Hockey on Friday. With this win, Lions were upto 15 points from 11 games moving upto the fifth place while Punjab remained on top despite their third loss in the championship.
Lions, who had lost six out of their 10 earlier matches started in right earnest as Len Aiyappa provided the home team lead in the fourth minute of the first quarter. The former India international and an ace drag-flicker during his hay days converted a short corner as Lions got the lead.
Shere-e-Punjab then upped the ante and tried to equalize as they got a few penalty corners but failed to convert a single one during the first two quarters. Credit should also be given to Lions custodian Devesh Chauhan who effected a few good saves including a powerful drag-flick. However persistence paid off for the Punjab side as their young drag-flicker Harpreet Singh converted a penalty corner in the third minute of the third quarter (38th of the match).
Chauhan again came to Lions` rescue as he dived to avert danger created by a powerful reverse hit from Mandeep Antil.
Aiyappa who has slowed down considerably due to his age and bulk again did what he does best. Convert a penalty corner as his powerful shot deflected off one of the defenders to hit the top of the net.
In the dying moments, Deepak Thakur`s attempt hit the vertical and Punjab were denied of an equaliser.