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Sultans quell Veerans' challenge
January 29, 2005 23:39 IST
Hyderabad Sultans overcame a fighting Chennai Veerans 2-1 in the Tier I Premier Hockey League (PHL) at the Gachibowli hockey complex in Hyderabad on Saturday.
Ajitesh Rai put Sultans ahead in the 39th minute but their joy was short lived as Adam Sinclair found the equalizer for the Chennai outfit in the very next minute.
Wasim Ahmed then produced the winner in the 47th minute as the hosts leapt to top slot in the Tier I with 12 points off five matches.
The action was packed in the third quarter with Sameer Dad sending a cross which was neatly deflected into the box by Ajitesh to draw first blood, much to the joy of the weekend holiday crowd.
Sinclair then found space on the flank for a solo run and sneaked past host captain and Indian skipper Dilip Tirkey before beating custodian Alam Ahmed to level the scores.
Ajitesh had a hand in the decisive goal as he broke through the Chennai defence to the goal and sent a cross to Wasim Ahmed. The Pakistani import had no difficulty in scoring past the Chennai goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan who was drawn forward and put Sultans to 2-1 lead.
The high voltage match also saw Sultans' custodian Alam Ahmed saving a penalty stroke hit by William Xalxo and a penalty stroke taken by Sohail Abbas being stopped by Chauhan.
Chennai Veerans went on the offensive from the outset and had more ball possession than their rivals but could not translate it into goals.
The fast paced game had seen Veerans penetrating into Sultan citadel and when the host team gained momentum Chennai players effected a counterattack to keep the up the tempo of the game.
Escarre's push from left was taken by Bimal Lakra and an obstruction at the goal mouth earned Veerans a penalty stroke.
Full back William Xalxo took the stroke and made a weak push, which was brilliantly stopped by Ahmed Alam and the first quarter ended barren.
Sultans changed their strategy in the second quarter and tried hard to penetrate the strong Chennai midfield.
The high voltage attacking game gave way to a penalty corner for Sultans and amidst a cheering crowd Sohail Abbas took the strike.
Chauhan made a daring rush and took the Pakistani ace's drag in his stomach which resulted in a free hit.
In the ensuing goal mouth melee, Ajitesh hit it in but umpire ruled it out and the second quarter ended without any result.
Escarre proved to be a constant threat but was checked by the defenders astutely guided by the experienced Tirkey.
In one of the chances which came Chennai's way, Escarre's feeble hit was deflected by Sultan custodian Ahmed.
The three points from the match pushed Sultans' tally to 12 from five matches they played.
Chennai is yet to open its account and lost all the four matches they played.
Sher-e-Jallandhar is in the second slot with eight points from four matches.