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3rd loss for Steelers

Chandigarh: Defending champions Orissa Steelers crashed to their third successive defeat going down to Hyderabad Sultans via a penalty shootout 2-3 in the Premier Hockey League here on Monday night.

Locked 1-1 at the end of regulation time, the hard-fought match went into extra time, but that too yielded no result, and the winner had to be decided through the penalty shootout.

It was the heroics of Sultans 26-year-old Dutch goalkeeper Oscar Ter Weeme, who saved three goals to give his team a 3-2 win in the tie-breaker.

The Steelers, who earlier went down to Bangalore Hi-Fliers and Chandigarh Dynamos, have two points in all and were struggling to stay afloat in the competition.

For Hyderabad, Sardar Singh and Pramod Kumar who took the first two strokes were successful while both Prabodh Tirkey and Ajitesh Roy failed for Orissa.

However, the next two for Hyderabad, Didar Singh and Chengappa messed up things while Orissa’s Kim Chul and Roshan Minz converted to make the scores 2-2 after four strokes. Pawal Lakra made no mistake for Hyderabad scoring through Orissa goalie’s legs and all eyes were on Joga Singh, the last man for Orissa. Hyderabad’s custodian Oscar Tar Weme stretched and saved with his left palm to signal victory for Hyderabad.

Earlier, the Steelers kept up the attack until the halftime and earned two penalty corners, but failed to convert them.Steelers regular captain Dilip Tirkey, who did not play two earlier games due to an injury decided to come out at the start of second quarter.

It was Dilip who was instrumental in giving the opponents their first goal in the third quarter.

Diwakar Ram of the Sultans, who had taken a nasty blow on his head while defending a penalty corner in the second quarter, converted the chance with an excellent drag flick to put his team in the lead.

However, Steelers got their fourth penalty corner in the fourth quarter and with barely five minutes left for the regulation time, Jitendra Siroha scored the equaliser and send the ball flying between goalkeeper Oscar and defender Johnson Ekka.

There were some tense moments for Steelers as Sultans earned their third penalty corner in the final seconds of the regulation time, but that failed to yield result.

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