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Jawad stars in Maratha Warriors win
January 14, 2005 22:40 IST
Last Updated: January 14, 2005 22:42 IST
Maratha Warriors shrugged off a brilliant fightback from Chennai Veerans to register a thumping 5-2 victory in their opening encounter of the inaugural Premier Hockey League in Hyderabad on Friday night.
The Viren Rasquinha-led side raced to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter before the Chennai Veerans came back strongly in the next two to reduce the margin to 2-3. But the eventual winners thumped in two more goals to seal the issue.
For Warriors, Pakistani international Kashif Jawad (12th, 55th, 65th minutes) scored thrice while his compatriot, Ali Raza, (3rd, 16th minute) scored twice.
Adam Sinclair (38th minute) and Sandeep Singh (53rd) sounded the board for the Veerans in a fast-paced encounter.
The Maratha warriors showed better combination in the first quarter and by the time their opponents could settle down they were sitting comfortable with a couple of goals in the bag.
Raza drew first blood when he converted the team's first penalty-corner with a hard hit to the left of Veeran goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan and Jawad doubled the lead nine minutes later when he tapped in a pass by Vijay Alphonso.
Veteran Dhanraj Pillay then showed his skills when he snatched the ball from rival defender William Xalxo and though he could not keep the ball in control inside the striking circle he earned a penalty-corner from which Raza made no mistake.
After the first break, Veeran's coach, Harinder Singh, asked the players to concentrate on controlling the midfield and the move paid off as his side dominated the second quarter.
However, some indecisive play inside the striking circle ensured that the Warriors went to half-time without conceding a goal.
The Ignace Tirkey-led side got their first chance in the third minute of the second quarter when Spanish international Juan Escarre gave a first time pass to Birender Lakra but he could not beat the goalkeeper.
Warriors looked disorganised and were lucky not to have their lead reduced as their skipper showed great presence of mind to stop an indirect penalty-corner attempt.
Veerans came out firing on all cylinders in the third quarter and maintained constant pressure on the rival citadel. Adam Sinclair provided them much-needed goal as he controlled the ball at the 25-yard line and then ran through the defence before beating Adrian D'Souza.
It was the Veerans who continued to call the shots in that quarter thereafter with Sandeep Singh scoring off the second penalty-corner just before the break.
With a lone goal separating the two sides and the Warriors down to ten men after their skipper was sent off for a challenge on Xlaxo, it looked like Veerans could turn the match on its head.
But two minutes into the fourth quarter, Alphonso made yet another probing run from the left and relayed the ball to Jawad in the striking circle. The Pakistani star just tapped the ball into the open net.
Jawad completed the finishing touches to the rout with five minutes from the hooter with a brilliant solo goal. For his efforts he was named the man of the match.