Sher-e-Punjab scores big win over Karnataka
Jalandhar: Sher-e-Punjab scored an overwhelming 6-1 victory over Karnakata Lions for their second win a row, despite a barren first-quarter in their World Series Hockey match, on Saturday.
With an array of forwards in the caliber of Mandeep Anil, Gagan Ajit Sigh, Prabodh Singh, besides penalty corner executioners in veteran Harpal Singh and Harpreet Singh, Shers scored at will and did not allow the Lions to settle.
The first quarter was eventful but remained goalless. Karnataka defence, despite coming under constant attack, not only withstood all of them but also launched serious counter attacks.
Olympian Harpal did some solid work inside the circle to frustrate the nippy Lions` strikers to keep the scoreboard clean.
Unlike in the first quarter, the Karnataka Lions refused to play second fiddle to Shers in the second quarter.
Young Vinayak Bijwad pounced on a second rebound to move the scoreboard (18th min) and kick start a goal-spree that followed.
Lurking inside the circle, Deepak Thakur posed danger to the Lions all the time. Despite missing a couple of sitters in the early part of the match, the Olympian played a stellar role in steering Shers towards success.
Thakur`s athleticism helped Sher-e-Punjab get a penalty stroke and then Gagan reminisced his glorious past with a patented close range forehand shot.
In a fit of blood rush, otherwise calm and composed Lions` custodian Devesh Chauhan rushed out of the cage and felled Thakur on the top of the circle.
The act was punished with a stroke for Shers and Pakistani import Tariq Aziz had no difficulty in converting the welcome stroke (2-1).
He pushed the ball to the top inside net to outwit Olympian goalie Devesh Chauhan. With this 32nd minute goal, the Shers shifted gears and took the Lions defence head on. After a couple of quick circle penetrations, stormy forward Mandeep punched a parallel pass across the circle only to be intercepted by Devesh.
Lurking around like a Hawk, gangling Gagan stopped the rebound with a left-hand lunge, and once that impossible-looking act is accomplished, he whacked a forehand in a fraction of second, leaving Devesh rooted (3-1) to his ground.
With the defence of Lions in shambles, expecting a goalie to do the miracle appeared out of question. It took a long time for the Lions to pull up their socks. Shers returned to the dressing room with a comfortable 3-1 score in their kitty.
Third quarter did not produce any sparks compared to the second, and it was due to improved defence of the Lions. Yet, the host team went up.
Harpal, who stood like a Rock of Gibraltor in the defence, entered his name on the scoreboard. His hit off the fourth penalty corner brooked no answer (4-1) in the 43rd minute.
Later, goals from Prabhjot Singh (61st min), Harpreet Singh (61st min) completed the tally.