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Steelers drub Veerans

Chandigarh: Defending champions Orissa Steelers handed Chennai Veerans a 3-0 drubbing to notch their first win in the 4th Premier Hockey League at the Sector 42 hockey stadium Wednesday.

Chennai thus suffered their third straight loss and are at the bottom of the seven-team table while Orissa have five points from four matches. Warriors are leading the table with seven points with Chandigarh Dynamos in second place with six.

Hyderabad Sultans, Sher-e-Jallandhar and Bangalore Hi-Fliers now share the third spot with Orissa Steelers on five points.

The match started on a fast pace with the Steelers playing attacking hockey with Roshan Minz, Ignace Tirkey, Sunil Ekka and Damandeep Singh combining well upfront. They took control of the midfield with Birendra Lakra and Prabodh Tirkey controlling the rival attacks. William Xalxo excelled in the defence with good anticipation and clean tackling.

In fact, Chennai Veerans hardly had any circle penetration and they failed to get their bearings right in the midfield. In the second quarter, Orissa exerted continuous pressure on the rival goal. Roshan had a try at the goal and then Shakeel Abbasi attempted a deflection off a long ball from Dilip Tirkey, but missed narrowly. The sustained pressure yielded result as they took the lead in the 26th minute.

Prabodh Tirkey put Eliazer Lakra in possession near the circle. Eliazer stepped inside and effected a reverse hit from top of the circle and the weak shot kissed rival goalkeeper Sreejesh’s left glove before settling in the net.

Chennai forward Adam Sinclair was off colour and V Raja failed to get enough support. There were no cohesive moves from the midfield and the Veerans defence was forced to work extra time. Even midfielders Somanna and Vikramjit Singh fell back repeatedly to assist the defence.

Two goals in the space of as many minutes in the third quarter tilted the match in favour of Orissa. In the 41st minute, a move from the right saw Birendra Lakra get the ball in the middle. He darted down and took a shot from the edge of the circle but rival goalie Sreejesh blocked his attempt. Sunil Ekka pounced on the rebound and tapped it in to extend the lead to 2-0.        (PTI)

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