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Chennai Veerans whip Lucknow Nawabs
January 06, 2006 21:56 IST
Young drag flicker Raghunath played a stellar role converting three penalty-corners to fashion Chennai Veerans' 5-1 victory over Lucknow Nawabs in the Tier II matches of the Premier Hockey League - II at the Sector 42 Hockey Stadium in Chandigarh on Friday.
Chennai Veerans, who were relegated to Tier II this year, played with vengeance and began their campaign with a bang, pumping five goals past a hapless Nawabs to score full three points from their opening match.
In fact, it was Nawabs, who shot ahead with a cheeky goal against the run of play in the 13th minute. Intercepting a back pass inside the Veerans' circle, Nawabs' Kamlesh Parihar put Prateek Srivastav in possession on the right. Prateek, took time and positioned himself well before banging into the boards.
Stung by the reverse, Veerans increased the tempo and forced their second penalty-corner in the 22nd minute to restore parity.
Vikramkanth made a perfect stop for Raghunath to display his wares from the set-piece drill and the young sports hostel boy from Bangalore sent the ball low into the net with a powerful drag-flick that gave no chance to Nawabs' custodian Riazuddin. Before the end of the second quarter, Veerans also managed to take the lead following a move from the right flank and Gurbaj Singh used the rebound to sent a stinging reverse hit in the 34th minute to make it 2-1.
A minute later, Raghunath was in action once again, converting another penalty corner on the stroke of half time to post his second goal.
Veerans made repeated raids on the rival citadel and continued the tempo in the third quarter and earned their fourth short corner in the 39th minute. Raghu's dragflick was saved by the goalkeeper but a Veerans' forward was obstructed and the umpire had no hesitation in pointing to the dreaded spot. Vikram Kanth made no mistake converting the penalty stroke with a low push to the boards and made it 4-2.
Within two minutes, Raghunath rounded off the tally with another drag flick, which rocketed into the goal at shoulder level in the 42nd minute.
Thereafter Lucknow Nawabs made a spirited attempt to come back into the match but they could only earn three short corners in the last quarter and the Veerans' defence, manned by Alfred Asir and Raghunath, stood like a rock, thwarting all their moves.