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Aiyappa stars for Bangalore Hi-Fliers

January 23, 2005 22:34 IST

Len Aiyappa struck the first hat-trick of the competition as Bangalore Hi-Fliers beat Hyderabad Sultans 3-2 in a Tier I match of the Premier Hockey League at Hyderabad on Sunday.

Riding on Aiyappa's brilliance, Bangalore came from behind handing out Hyderabad their first defeat in the tournament.

Aiyappa struck in the 14th, 49th and 51st minute after Sohail Abbas gave Hyderabad the lead in the 12th minute. Wasim Ahmed slammed home five minutes before the final whistle.

After the Bangalore team messed up a penalty corner, world's highest goal scorer Abbas lived up to his reputation with his trade mark drag flick to the right hand side corner of the post to put the hosts  in the lead in the first quarter.

But minutes later Len Aiyappa scored the equaliser through a similar flick infusing tempo into the game played before a sizeable Sunday crowd which included former Indian cricket captain Mohamed Azharuddin.

Aiyappa struck in the next two short corner opportunities and the Hi-Fliers took a 3-1 lead.

Stung by the reverse, Vikram Pillay, Susan Toppno and Sameer Dad raided the opponent citadel with some incisive moves but could not pull out any thing positive. Sultans, who had more control of the ball, could not capitalise on a few lapses by the Hi-Fliers and Sohail too missed one penalty corner.

In the last quarter, Wasim Ahmed hit from the top of the circle beating the Bangalore custodian Bharat Chetri hands down to bring the score to 3-2.

Hi-Fliers' V S Vinay was shown the first red card of the tournament for obstructing a surging Hyderabad forward while Avatar Singh of Hyderabad Sultans got a yellow card for foul play.

After Bangalore took a 3-1 lead, the hosts looked a bit upset and their running went awry and at times could not re-group effectively while their opponents maintained their cool.

Tushar Khandekar and Arjun Halappa combined well and moved in tandem for the Bangalore team tearing apart the defence of the Dilip Tirkey led team.

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